Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Eraser Game

This is a game that I have played for years with my students. It originates from a game played in some Latin American country that I can't remember where nor the name. The students love playing this game and it can be a very fast-paced game, forcing students to pay attention and think fast.

As you can see in the picture, students have a vocabulary word or structure that is in English and attached to their desk in the front. It is written large enough for everyone to see. Another student is in the center with an eraser. One student starts by saying another student's word in the target language. That student must say someone else's word before the student with the eraser hits his/her hand.

Students sitting at their desks must have a hand in each corner of their desk. If they move their hands or desk, they are automatically in the center. The person with the eraser can not aggressively hit a student's hand, throw it, or hit any other body part: only the hand.

To mix things up a bit and to keep them on their toes, I have the students stand and move 1-3 seats to the left. They now have a new word to focus on. This prevents them from just remembering one word for the day. It also gets some of the quieter students into more popularly-said words so that they are more of an active participator, too. Another mix up is to pull out words that are said a lot. If they keep calling out a few words, I will remove them from the desks and add different words. Again, this keeps them thinking more quickly. Sometimes students will say the words that have been removed so the eraser student hits his/her hand and s/he is now in the center.

Historically, students have said this is a great way to "cement" the vocabulary and pick up the words they have missed due to illness or other reason not being in class. While this does not fit the philosophy of TPRS acquisition, it is a fun way to review vocabulary, old and new, and it does stick with the kids, offering a much needed brain break.

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