Friday, October 16, 2009

Playing Drinking Games in Class

Lesson of the Day: Grammar and vocab review, using Kings. For my dear readers who went to college before 1990, you can find more info on that here.
Idiom of the Day: N/A
Video of the Day: N/A
Lunch: bibimbap day! It's my favorite :) Bonus: miso soup with the little noodle-y mushrooms, individual little mini-rolls with custard inside (bizarre, but not altogether un-tasty), and honeydew slices. Win!
Highlight Thusfar: Actually, this whole day's been pretty good. I like my Friday schedule. I'd rather have Josh's Friday schedule (4-day weeks are my goal in life), but mine is really well balanced between class and doing nothing. I like all of my first grade classes, and I have all 3 on Fridays. I have 2 back to back and then one right after lunch, and then a break, and then the "teacher class" at 3:20. Sometimes it would be nice to not have teacher class, so I could skip out early on Fridays when I'm going somewhere, but I'm staying in Daejeon this weekend, so I really don't have any reason leave early. Either I'd noodle around on the internet at work or at home, and strangely enough, it looks better if I do it here. I've got an array of mugs and green tea in the gyomushil and a bunch of Sherlock Holmes novels on my ipod touch - I'm pretty content to chill here until the 4:45 bus :)

So. Today's lesson. My good spirits are largely attributable to how well this lesson went, and how cool the first graders are. Sometimes it feels like I can lead my oh-so-jaded second graders to fun but I can't make them drink (so to speak), but even the sleepy kids of 1-3 managed to get it together to play this game with the rambunctiousness it so well deserves.

My friend Sarah posted a link on facebook the other day to a site for teachers with an overview of how to adapt this game for the beginner ESL classroom. I've already played "Never Have I Ever" with them, which is often a component of Kings, and that lesson worked pretty well (i.e. got them speaking English), so I had pretty high hopes for success.

In fact, I've come to a realization about American and English drinking games in general. And the realization is this: drinking games are a phenomenal resource for ESL/TESOL teachers. While this post will probably come back to bite me should I ever seek a job in education policy, I'll say it -- I plan to incorporate more drinking games into my teaching. Think about it - they're already engineered to be played by people with impaired linguistic facility. Plus, they are easily modifiable (think about how many variations of house rules exist for Kings, beirut, etc), require little preparation on the part of the teacher, and encourage an environment in which students can interact with each other in English and it is in their self-interest to monitor their peers' use of 1L. They also allow me to substitute my own reward and penalty system, where a "drink" is a point leading to a reward or penalty, and they frequently include some kind of physical component -- crucial for these kids' efforts to stay awake.

Of course, it's not the fact that Kings is a drinking game that's so appealing. But I've been looking for ESL games that don't treat learners like elementary school children, and they're tough to find. And for anyone who doesn't remember, high school is the exact demographic LEAST likely to respond to being treated like little kids. They're in that weird space between wearing Pokemon gear with complete ingenuousness and wearing it because it has some kind of ironic, retro, hipster chic appeal. Honestly, people (I hesitate to call them "kids" in this context, though I often use the word in an affectionate sense) that age don't play games other than sports. There's a void between kids games and drinking games, and I'd rather bump them up than down.

Thing is, I actually have the grammar terminology, and after taking foreign languages and teaching English in Northampton and Thessaloniki, I even have the teacher-y skills to break grammar and vocab down into manageable chunks. The hard part, then, is the means of conveying information, finding how to get students to engage with English in ways beyond getting lectured at and "participating" via cloze or word searches or god knows what.

So. Without further ado, here's my lesson plan:

Before class, I made a set of Kings rules that specifically reviewed speaking material we have worked on this semester (they're copy-pasted at the end). I bought 2 decks of cards and a few 1,000 won (~$.90) prizes a couple of days ago.
I also made a few questions that reviewed writing or other material from earlier in the semester. These came into play for cards that have physical / non-English play - for example, if you are the last person to touch the floor on a 4, you can redeem yourself by correctly answering a question from the pile (those are at the end, too)
In class, I first went over a worksheet from last class that I'd collected and corrected. There were some mistakes that several people had made (ex: "I would get married with Girls Generation" - I explained that you can "marry" GG or "get married to" GG, but not "get married with" them, and a reminder that you "go to Japan," unless you're cheering on the Japanese team "Go Japan!") , so we reviewed the correct answers for about 5 or 6 minutes. Then I handed out and talked through the sheet with Kings rules on it, with the kids each reading 1 rule from the paper out loud and me explaining where need be. I didn't expect this to happen, but I ended up having to explain "rhyme" in at least 3 different ways in each class. I guess there's no exact equivalent Korean word? I asked my last class, and even the ones who are awesome at English didn't know.
After the rules were clear, I split the class into 2 groups of 10 each, and had them move their desks to form two circles. I explained that because I would be walking around the room, each group would need a captain to keep track of points. The captains would also be the only people permitted to speak Korean during class, so that they could explain something if their teammates had questions. I got volunteers each time, which was cool, and sometimes more than one (clearly that was resolved with proper application of the rock-paper-scissors formula). With the rules set and the captains in place, I announced that from this moment, this was an English-only zone. Then I pretty much just set them loose for the next 35 or so minutes, and it was great. They were noisy and boisterous, with one group bordering on obnoxious - and it was all in English! Be still, my heart :)

Kings Rules for Miss Kaye's Class
2’s – Make a sentence using [to be] + [adj.] : all sentences must be 5 words or more
3’s - Game of Threes. students count, one at a time, but substitute a clap if the number contains the digits (not multiples of) 3, 6, or 9
4’s – Four to the floor. Touch the floor! The last person to touch the floor loses.
5’s – Ask a friend a question using a future tense verb (if correct, both the student who asks and the student who answers win 5 points each)
6’s – Make a sentence using the simple present tense
7’s – Ask a friend a hypothetical question (“If you [past tense verb] [object], what would you do?” // “If I [past tense verb] [object], I would [present tense verb]”)
8’s – Never Have I Ever (with 3 fingers)
9’s – Nines are for rhymes. Say any word. Then each person must say a word that rhymes. If you cannot think of a rhyme in 10 seconds, or if you repeat a rhyme, you must take a question from the pile.
10’s – Rocks, Paper, Scissors. Tournament-style.
Jacks – Categories.
1st Ss names category, all else name word in that category (ex: animals, American pop stars, CSHS rules, English words that start with the letter “A”)
Queens – Questions. Ask a friend a question. He or she must tell the truth! (students vote on whether the answer is true)
Kings – Kings rule. Make a rule for people who get an answer wrong!
Aces – Aces high, to the sky!
Jokers – 10 points! Add 10 points to yourself, or subtract 10 points from another student.

Right answer = + 5 points

Wrong answer = -2 points

Speaking Korean = -1 point

Extra Questions to redeem losses from physical task cards (3,4,10,A) reviewing previous lessons (Speed Dating/American dating culture; making & answering hypothetical questions, "would you rather" questions, adding noun determiners)

1. If you had a million dollars, what would you buy?
2. If you could change one school rule, what would it be? Why?
3. Would you rather be very popular and have everyone like you except the girl/boy you want, OR have no friends except your great girlfriend/boyfriend?
4. Would you rather have 3 arms or 3 eyes?

5. Would you rather have a time machine that can only go to the future, or a time machine that can only go to the past?
6. Make a sentence (put in order, add the correct articles and prepositions)

Have / you / Brown Street / coffeeshop / yet? / been
7. Make a sentence (put in order, add the correct articles and prepositions)
Like / would / cup / you / tea?

8. Say one thing that is different about dating culture in America and Korea.

Now, if only I can figure out how to use beirut...

1 comment:

Josh Lo said...

there's no way... kings never even crossed my mind... and i bring a deck of cards to class at least half the time. here i was thinking i was pushing it with "never have i ever" and "would you rather." oh, it's on now!