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Teaching English to speakers of other languages through games

Classroom Exit Games

Green white exit sign
You’ve had a fantastic class. The lessons you planned went wonderfully well and you’ve timed out everything perfectly… or so you thought.
 
With a few minutes left, and nothing scheduled, what should the teacher pull out of her bag o’ tricks to keep the day’s learning moving forward?
 
Another drill and kill exercise is only going to de-motivate your learners after a good day. Dismissing everyone early seems to be a waste of precious classroom minutes.
 
Now is a good time for an exit game.
 
Exit games, either planned or popped off the top of your head, are a simple way to help reinforce the day’s learning serving as an additional chance to identify students who understand the lesson or those that’ll need a little extra help.

 

If used regularly exit games can motivate students: A fun way to send ’em off with simple practice of the day’s lesson.

 

Exit games, quite simply, are a short quiz or task that each student must perform in order to be dismissed early. Failures in activities can result in a chance to repeat the task or activity and success gives a reward of a few minutes free time.

 

How Exit Games Work

 

Arrange your students in a line (or sometimes two-by-two if you want to play zero-sum exit games with the loser repeating and victor being dismissed).

 

In turn, each student is asked to perform a task… answer a question, spell a word, identify an object (noun study) or similar short simple tasks. Success results in early dismissal, failure results in a trip to the end of the line and a chance to repeat the process later.

 

Exit games are more fun when you add the dimension of luck, such as rolling a six-sided die to determine how many questions must be answered, or pulling out a random Scrabble tile to determine the first letter of a word the student must spell. Luck induces more excitement if students are given a free pass… roll a ‘six’ to leave the game (and class), blank Scrabble tiles mean a free pass.

 

Exit games are best with younger children, though older students and even adults can be enthralled if a time limit and a sense of competition is introduced. The first to answer the question, perform the task and be successful receives a reward.

 

One of the (unspoken and unfair) advantages of an exit game is that as the educator you control the ease or difficulty in questions or tasks tailoring difficulty to each of your learners.

 

Exit Game Examples

 

  1. Exit slips or Exit tickets
    Have each student write down (or just tell you) three words they learned this week. Offer recognition to the best, most interesting, longest most unusual or similar criteria. Keeping a running list for the school term encourages competition and prevents repetition.
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  3. My Mime
    Perform a short charade of an action or idea. Each student has a chance to guess and tell you what you are doing.
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  5. Spelling Chain Game
    Chose a word, the first student must spell the word and then chose a new word that starts with the last letter of the word spelled. The next student must spell that word and choose a word that starts with the last letter, etc. {Note: This can be difficult and some students may need tips/help/suggestions to make it less threatening}
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  7. Colour Race
    Great for young learners. Each student in line is told of a colour. They must then race around the room to touch three things of that colour. Encourage the student to shout the name of the colour as they touch the object.
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  9. Fix My Mistake
    Speak a sentence with an error. Ask the student to correct your mistake. Can be very useful for teaching common errors and first language (L1) interference errors.
  10.  

  11. Correct My Spelling
    Say a word and spell it wrong. Ask the student to correct your spelling. Can be useful to play this at a blackboard so the student can see and write the word.
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  13. Question Me
    Each student must ask you a grammatically correct question. (make certain that questions aren’t repeated). Can be very useful for teaching common errors and L1 interference errors.
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  15. Trivia Quest
    Use cards from a trivia game such as Trivial Pursuit or Matt Errey’s game Word Up to challenge your learners.
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  17. Dictionary Definition
    Play with the whole class. Slowly read definitions of words from a dictionary. The first student to shout out the word is dismissed early. (You can find more dictionary games in our post on Dictionary Tips)
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  19. Synonym Bingo
    Play with the whole class. Choose a word and say it to the whole class (Example: “cold”). The first student to shout out a synonym is dismissed (example: “icy”. Then the next with another synonym (example: “cool”). Then the next (example: “freezing”), etc., until the class has run out of ideas. Repeat with a new word.
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  21. Opposite Bingo
    Play with the whole class. Choose a word and say it to the whole class (example: “cold”). The first student to should out a word of opposite meaning (example: “hot”) is dismissed.
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  23. Rhyme Me
    Tell a student a word. They must think of three rhymes for the word  and say them to you. Give a short time limit. Success leads to dismissal from class, if they run out of time, send them to the back of the line to repeat.
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  25. Occupation Match
    This game is useful when teaching occupations. Tell the student the name of an occupation. The student must make a sentence that includes a tool that the occupation uses. Example: You tell the student the word “Cook”, student responds with “A cook uses a pot”. Give a short time limit. Success leads to dismissal from class, if they run out of time, send them to the back of the line to repeat.
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  27. Tongue Twister Challenge
    Certain to introduce laughter in your class. Give students a short tongue twister that they must say three times. You can find tongue twisters in our Tongue Twister collection. Give a short time limit. Success leads to dismissal from class, if they run out of time, send them to the back of the line to repeat.
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  29. Body Parts
    Have your student say and spell body parts that you point to on your own body (knee, face, hair etc.). Give a short time limit. Success leads to dismissal from class, if they run out of time, send them to the back of the line to repeat.
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  31. Comparative Challenge
    Useful when teaching comparatives and superlatives. Tell your student an object or idea (dog, blue, movie, English etc.) ask them to make a comparative sentence.  (example; dogs are bigger than cats, blue is prettier than red, movies are more exciting than television, English is more interesting than math etc.). Keep a list of comparatives used, and don’t allow repeats. Give a short time limit. Success leads to dismissal from class, if they run out of time, send them to the back of the line to repeat.
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  33. What do you find?
    Have each student roll a die to determine how many things they must identify. Ask each student to identify things found in different places (found in a kitchen, found in a park, found in a classroom, found in a school, etc.). Give a time limit for the answers. Make the competition more difficult by not allowing repeated answers. Success leads to dismissal from class, if they run out of time, send them to the back of the line to repeat.
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  35. Telegram
    Write twelve letters on the black board, in two sets of six letters. (example: P L M E N R / T I M W O S). Give students time to write. Students should compose two sentences (no matter how nonsensical or absurd but that convey some sense of meaning) with the first letter of the word starting with the letters given. When students read their ‘telegrams’ to you they may exit the class. (examples: Please Let Me Eat Nice Rice / This Is My Weird Old Squirrel … Peter Loves My English Novel Reading/ The Inside Makes Work Outside Silly)
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  37. Guess What I Do
    This is a variation of twenty questions. Have students line up. Secretly choose an occupation that students have studied. In turn, each student may ask you one yes/no question and guess your occupation. If the guess is wrong they go to the end of the line. If the student guesses right, they are dismissed and you choose a new secret occupation. Repeat until all students are dismissed or class time has completely run out.
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  39. Shopping
    Have students line up. Model the sentence, “I went to the market and I bought an apple”. In turn each student must say the sentence “I went to the market and I bought

    ” with the new item beginning with the next letter in the alphabet. “I went to the market and I bought a bag,” “I went to the market and I bought a car,” I went to the market and I bought a dog,” etc. Give a time limit for the statements. Success leads to dismissal from class, if they run out of time, send them to the back of the line to repeat. {You may wish to skip over more difficult letters like ‘X’ and ‘Q’}

 

It can be a nice surprise to play exit games as entrance games. Give students a quick humourous activity to allow them to enter your class. It helps start the class with laughter. Tongue twisters make especially great entrance games.

 

By introducing exit games as a regular part of your class, students leave with smiles & laughter and are all that more eager to return for the next day’s lesson.

 

Other suggestions for exit games? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Last updated: May 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

 


 

One Response so far.

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