Save the Tail: a Speaking Game


March 31, 2011 by k. liz

Well, we are still preparing for our speaking final exams! I just finished a class using a new game. This is very simple, and can be adapted for any speaking class (or probably any class, now that I think about it.) I just opened a word document and created a table. Mine was 7×11. I just played with it until I had nice sized squares that weren’t too big or too small. I then filled my squares in with F I N A L  E X A M 🙂 since we are preparing for it.

All I did was use Triptico to group my students in groups of 3 or 4. (Click here to see my post about using Triptico for grouping students.) I then called out one of the four topics that will be on the final exam: travel, advice, future, or culture. Each student would then say one sentence about the topic. We have practiced these topics many times, so they already knew what kinds of things to talk about. While one student was speaking, the other two students had to be the teacher and decide whether or not the sentence was PERFECT. And it had to be perfect, including grammar, pronunciation, word order, etc. If the sentence was perfect, there was no problem. If they made a mistake, they had to rip off the bottom square of their tail.

The game ended up being fun, and to my surprise all of my students were speaking. The whole gist of the game was to give a visual to the students of how their English is right now, and how much they need to work before the exam next week. Now, my students are stubborn and would hide their papers and not let the other students rip off a square, but overall the objectives were reached. The students spoke, and they were thinking about the importance of their mechanics.

Also, it was fun to walk around and see their faces when I made a face showing them they were wrong. They would pull back their piece of paper and their eyes would get big. “No, teacher, no, I didn’t say I will went to go . . . I said . . . I will go to . . .”


One thought on “Save the Tail: a Speaking Game

  1. waykate says:

    🙂 liked it – am now thinking of some variations and different applications

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