As an Itinerant ESL teacher, I have found that being flexible is imperative to successfully working with my students. Many times I have shown up to work, planning to teach a specific lesson, only to find that the building was having an alternate schedule, an assembly, or a surprise event so I was unable to do a complete lesson with my students. I was able to use the following board games to meet student learning goals and objectives while keeping their attention which can be a struggle on days with schedule changes.
Below are some of my favorite games to use as learning tools with English Learners (ELs) Some of these are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase by clicking on the link, I will earn a small commission.
Hedbanz, Guess Who, and Guess Where are all excellent games to play with Pre-K through 5th grade. I made sentence frame cards to go along with the games as needed. For example: Is_________________ in the bedroom? Are you a _____________ ?
Scrambled States of America is the perfect game for EL’s at WIDA language proficiency levels of 2 or above. The kids have fun matching the states and have to read the details on the cards quickly. It is a great tool for learning to recognize letters, state names, and places very quickly.
Allowance and Monopoly Jr. are my favorite games for reinforcing basic money skills and vocabulary. So many of our students come from countries that use other currencies and these games help them transition to using the US dollar. Allowance and the regular Monopoly game are good for older students, however they are long. I found that the traditional Monopoly game took too long and was a bit too complex for using with elementary students.
My final favorite is an old-fashioned game that kids still love to play – Candyland. This game is perfect for the Pre-K – 3rd who need to learn their colors in English. Playing this game reinforces lessons on turn-taking, sharing, and color names. Students just love this game and you will find many native English speakers begging for a chance to play this game on indoor recess days.
These games have been great tools to reinforce learning on days when student schedules are disrupted. An active, entertaining activity is important to keep learners engaged in learning.
I found most of these games at garage sales or got them from friends whose kids had grown up and no longer wanted to keep the games. Have fun trying them out and comment with your personal favorites!
Incase you missed it here is part 1 of this series: Teaching from the Trunk | 10 Must Have Supplies