My friends and I joke that because the English World books are being used throughout the country, within one generation “teddy (ტედი)” will become the Georgian word for a stuffed bear toy, and “Mr. Jolly” will become as much of a household name as Mickey Mouse.
But this prevalence can certainly be played to our benefit! If your classes are like mine, 3rd-4th grade has finished the level one book. Here’s a fun game you can play with your class to review all of their knowledge in an authentic way.
“Who am I?”
Materials: writing instrument (preferably a marker) and sticky notes. Flash cards or paper with tape, or even just a piece of paper without adhesive will also work.
Preparation: Write individual character names on the sticky notes. Don’t forget minor characters like the Bodkin Boys or Jimbo!
Game Play: Each student will have a character’s name stuck to their back (if no tape is available, you can also have them hold the papers to their forehead facing out). Without looking at their character, students have five minutes to circulate the room and ask other students: “Who am I?” Speaking in English, students have to describe the character (e.g. You are a girl, you have got glasses, you have got a son and a daughter) to each other so that each student can guess which character is posted to their backs. Students should ask questions about themselves (Am I a boy? Have I got a sister?) to help them get information from other students. At the end of five minutes, the students take their cards off of their backs to see if they were correct.
This game can be played quite a few times, and hopefully the students will improve as they learn from each other which questions work well to guess the characters.
In order for this game to work, you must explain, repeat, and enforce the obvious rules (you may only speak in English, no peeking) but you will also want to review basic full sentence structures with the children BEFORE playing. It’s most likely been a while since your children have had to use such constructions as “you are a man” and “you like castles,” and in general the second person singular, though taught in the book, is not heavily emphasized. It’s important to try to have students use full sentences, but depending on their level, their shouting “clown!! clown!!” or “you are glasses!” will not ruin the game. The important aspect is that students use English to communicate ideas to each other for a clear purpose.
Writing sample questions on the board and demonstrating a round between you and your coteacher before playing is crucial to keeping your students interested in the game and keeping a modicum of noise from growing into a full-fledged ruckus when the game starts.
Need more characters? Use teddy, bird, ball, even fruits and vegetables. I like to use Sponge Bob. The poor student who has it first is never able to guess it, but it’s quite a funny moment for all students when they realize that they can read never-before-encountered words (sponge) by themselves. After the first round, every child’s first question will be “Am I yellow?”
Adaptation: If you feel this game will cause either too much of a commotion in your classroom, or if your students don’t have as much comfort with the language, play a one-person version of the game (such as in EW1 Unit 4 Grammar in Conversation). Call one student to the front of the class, place a name-card on his/her forehead, and guide the questioning/response process one at a time.
If you prepare your students well and can maintain order in the classroom as they are playing, you’ll have a fun review game in which they need to synthesize all of the English they’ve learned up until this point to win!! And let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to be Mr. Jolly, even if just for a few minutes?