English Club Activities

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Ah...English Club...What to do what to do???

Different schools use English Club for different purposes. If you are being put in charge of English Club, find out what the club’s goals are first and foremost. Some schools might use English club for students preparing for speech contests. Others might be using them for English exam preparation. Still others will use them for fun English activities and a chance to interact more with the ALT. If this is the case here is a host of game ideas.

Contents

Games

Headbands

  • Students: 3+
  • Materials: Thick cloth elastic from Daiso and cards with pictures and names of famous people, cartoon characters or people from your school on them.
  • How to Play:
  1. Students choose a card without looking at it and put it into their headband so that everyone else can see who they are.
  2. Going around in a circle students take turns asking questions about who they are. Ex, am I an entertainer? Where am I from?
  3. First person to guess who they are wins!

Spoons

  • Students: 4+
  • Materials: A set of spoons, but have one less than for each player. So if 6 are playing have only 5. Also a set of 40 or so sturdy cards with vocabulary words from different categories. Good categories are colours, animals, English speaking countries, school events, words that mean ‘big’ etc etc just adjust for the level of your students.

To challenge your students a bit, don’t write the category of the card and let the students figure it out, otherwise you’d better write the category title on the top of the card or it can be too confusing for lower level students.

  • How to Play:

Everyone should be seated in a circle, place the spoons in a pile in the center. Deal out all of the cards to your group, on the count of 3 select a card from your hand to pass to the person on your right. Your goal is to collect all 4 of a kind. Once you have, take a spoon. If you see someone else take a spoon you must take a spoon as well! If you don’t get a spoon you take a demerit point.

Be sure to have the student who completed their set explain their set of words to the other students and review any new words.

Scrabble

  • Students: 3+
  • Materials: I made my own scrabble board using this handy website. To make things a bit easier I added extra R S T L N E tiles.
  • How to Play

Since real Scrabble takes too long I limited the game to three rounds. Who ever scored the most points in three rounds won. I also required my students to use the word they just spelled out in a sentence to make sure that they got enough speaking practice and everyone understood the word.

Cube of Fortune

  • Students: 2+
  • Materials: Dice that have dollar values on 4 sides and 'Bankrupt' and 'Lose A Turn' on the other 2. I made my own extra large ones out of foam core.
  • How to Play:

Rules are just like Wheel of Fortune but with a cube, hence the name title. Always fun to watch students try to drop the dice in such a way they get $300 only to have it backfire and they roll Bankrupt instead.

Scattergories

  • Students: 3+
  • Materials: A white board and markers is nice but otherwise pens and paper and a way to keep time
  • How to Play:

Write several categories in columns on the board, good categories are: Things at the Beach, In the Classroom, Things that are Red, Adjectives, Things You Eat, Things you Wear etc etc Choose a letter such as S, then the students need to come up with as many things that fit the categories that start with S within 2 or 3 minutes: Sand, swimming, surfing, surfers, seals etc etc...

The student / team with the most words wins.

Twenty Questions

  • Students: 2+
  • Materials: Writing stuff is good to have on hand for students to help keep track of information.
  • How To Play:

Have a student think of a person or cartoon character. Then everyone else must ask yes or no questions in order to find out who the person is. They must find out who the person is in less than 20 questions. Sometimes the students will need to write down answers to help them keep track of information.

Karuta

  • Students: 2+
  • Materials: A set of cards, one set can be English words, the other half can be Japanese translations. Or for a challenge have words with similar pronunciations and spellings like Made and Mad
  • How to Play:

Lay out the cards on a table and call out words. Students have to grab the correct card, then they get to keep it. Student with the most cards wins. This game will never get old!

Beat the Clock

  • Students: 2+
  • Materials: Sometime to keep time with, an iPod with headphones, a set of cards with questions on them, you can adjust for your students’ level. Name two colors, Name something you can buy at a conbini, Name two things you drink etc etc
  • How to Play:

Have the students pair up and then each select 5 or so questions. One student listens to music (English music of course) while their partner attempts to answer all the questions as fast as possible (alternatively you can have your students answer as many questions as they can in 1 minute). Once one student has answered them all or has run out of time, the students switch places. The student who answered the questions the fastest, or who answered the most questions in the time limit wins. This game also makes for a fun Bunkasai Event.

More Serious Activities

Of course some students are looking for more serious practice with English.

Show and Tell

The Kindergarten classic, ask students ahead of time to bring something in to club and talk about it. Suggest things like postcards, photos, souvenirs or small mascots. Encourage the other students to ask questions about what they brought in.

NHK Radio English

NHK airs a series of English conversations every month, they publish a companion book that can be bought in most book stores as well, it's only a few hundred yen. The books have a full script with explanations and translations and lots of nifty activities.

The audio clips can be found on here

TRAD Japan

Good ol' NHK again. NHK airs several short video clips with the aim of helping Japanese explain parts of Japanese culture to foreigners. Topics include Bento, Tatami, Macha and Castles. The English is pretty advanced. However each topic is explained with both Japanese and English subtitles, and a segment on explaining difficult expressions and has pauses for you to practice saying it. My students really enjoyed it.

There is also a companion book published with a full script in English next to a Japanese explanation along with some funny anecdotes.

Many of the videos can be found on this youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/RyokoEnglishChannel

Studying Books

Looking a short passages from a novella or picture books can be lots of fun and good practice for reading out loud. Encourage your students to share what they liked or didn't like or how they feel about characters and their actions. Many popular books already have teacher guides online which saves you the work.  ;)

Authors like Louis Sacher, Roald Dahl and Rudyard Kipling have great short stories that will need only a little tweaking for language. Junior novelizations of movies are great too. Also, ask what the students are using for reading material in their other English classes. Often I find the students have these great stories that they have to study for grammar and vocabulary, but don't have a chance to really talk about them.

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