Vocabulary, conjugations and definitions are an important part of learning English but quickly become monotonous. Students in sixth grade need activities that will keep them engaged and interested in the topic at hand. Although some people think games are simply a way to fill time, games can actually be both entertaining and educational for ESL students.
ESL Writing Game: Mixed Words
This game is a fun way to introduce vocabulary, work on sentence structure or practice verb tenses. Each student will need index cards and a pen or pencil. On the board, make several columns for different parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. You also can include other parts, such as prepositions or pronouns, or specific verb tenses, depending on your lesson. On the board, fill out the lists either with words you've predetermined or have the students brainstorm words. Once each list has several words, have the students write each word on a separate index card. When they are finished, have the students mix the words up on their desks. For an extra challenge, erase the lists on the board. Tell the students they have 10 minutes to make as many sentences on their desk as possible. If needed, move the desks out of the way so the students can make longer sentences on the floor. The student with the most correct sentences after 10 minutes wins.
ESL Memory Game: The Chain
Getting sixth-grade students to talk in class, particularly in a second language, can sometimes be a challenge. For this game, it's best to have the students sit in a circle, either on the floor or in their desks. Choose a sentence prompt such as "On my summer vacation, I like to..." Pick one student to start, and have him finish the sentence. ("On my summer vacation, I like to ride my bike.") The student next to him must repeat his sentence and add her own thought. ("On my summer vacation, I like to ride my bike and play basketball.") Keep going until a student forgets and breaks the chain.
ESL Conversation Game: Roll and Respond
For this game, you will need a pair of dice. On the board or on a printout, list 20 or more questions, such as "What did you have for dinner last night?" or "What is your favorite book and why?" Have each student take turns rolling the dice. Each student must keep track of which question he was asked last. For added fun, make a few numbers "Jump ahead five questions" or "Move back two." The first student to finish the last question is the winner.
Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.