What does work in super big groups?

What to do when you have 50, 70 or 100s of kids in a class? After last weeks disaster, I figured it would be good to go through and figure out what games do indeed work with super big groups. I wrote an article about teaching big groups in China a while back, but here are a few updates.

For starters you can rule out:

1) Any game that has any preparation material ( including the mini card games). Logistics take too long.
2) Any game that has the class split into small groups e.g. Sticky Fingers, Ostrich, Newspaper Sumo
3) Any game with waiting time e.g. Hammer, Lines

The rest then depends on how well you, or the other teachers, can keep control of the group. For a group that is tricky to control “en masse” games are best e.g.

1) Weather Clap Clap ( just a few rounds)
2) Mingle ( works great!)

For better behaved classes you can introduce some pair games e.g.

1) Gokiburi
2) I like everything
3) Harry Potter

This doesn’t leave you with much! So apart from refusing to do joint classes, the best thing is probably to stick to just the songs, then leave the games up to the class teachers to do when you’re not there. The key to teaching the songs is volume. As long as everyone can hear the music, they’ll all keep in time and things go surprisingly smoothly, even things like “What’s your name?” which has the kids getting into pairs. Other recommended songs for big groups are:

1)Rock, Paper, Scissors,
2)How are you?,
3)Left & Right,
4)How old are you?
5) Where are you going? is my current favourite!

If you’re having problems keeping the class under control, I’d definitely recommend these. I’ve taught classes up to 1,000 kids like this and have only failed once ( touch wood!).

Actually I bet if we had a soundtrack for the games it would help a lot.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have normal classes of up to only 30 kids, then you can just do the normal lesson plans!

( If you have any more suggestions, then please write them up on the forum. )

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...