Have You Ever ESL Vocabulary Game

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Playing the Have You Ever ESL Game will get students to practice new vocabulary that they have learned in class. You can use new words covered in your course textbook and other vocabulary that you would like to reinforce.

Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Age Group: Kids, Adults

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Have You Ever ESL Game

Have You Ever ESL Game Preparation:

To prepare for the game, collect a list of words that you would like your students to practice. Make sure to have several verbs and nouns. If you are using a course textbook, it is a great idea to use words from each chapter so they can review the course content.

You may want to print out the list for your own personal reference during the lesson.

Pick up some dice at a dollar store.

Have You Ever ESL Game Guidelines:

To start, elicit as many of the verbs from the vocabulary list as you can. Write the verbs on the board and draw a circle or square around each one. The verbs should be arranged so it resembles a game board.

Next, label the first verb as the “Start” and the last verb as the “Finish” line for the game.

Divide the class into teams and assign a number or team name for each of them. If you have a magnetic board, you can use different colored magnets to keep track of each team’s position on the game board. Alternatively, just use your board marker.

Model an example of the task for the class using a question starting with “Have you ever…”

For example, if the first verb is eat, ask one of the teams, “Have you ever eaten a Big Mac?”

Likely, one of the students will have eaten one. Elicit the correct response and ask them a second question to encourage some extra discussion. For instance, you could ask the student when she went to McDonald’s or who she ate with etc.

If they conjugate the verb correctly and form proper responses, get them to roll the dice. Then, move their team forward the appropriate amount of spaces on the board. Give bonus points too. Extra points will encourage discussion and use of the target vocabulary.

For the nouns on the vocabulary list, you could write them all on the corner of the board or hand out separate copies for the teams to refer to.

After modeling the task a few more times, the students should have a good understanding of how to play. For the game, the teams can ask each other the “Have you ever” questions as they progress on the board. You can simply moderate and monitor their responses. Offer feedback whenever necessary.

The first team to the last square on the board wins the game. Of course, you can adapt the game rules and scoring system to suit your preferences.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

To complete the lesson, review some of the more difficult words from the list. If they had some problems remembering the past participle of some verbs, practice using them in discussion.

If time permits, you could try reinforcing the vocabulary with the Apples to Apples ESL Board Game. On the other hand, try playing Find Someone Who to encourage more interaction. Both games are fun and engaging for all ages.

More ESL Vocabulary Games for Kids and Adults:

View the vocabulary games archive.

View more ESL activities.

Related ESL Resources Online:

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