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Celebrity Racers

Author: Jennifer Willett
level: Junior High
target_English: Any familiar language
big_small: Big groups

I've used this game for getting students to introduce themselves, but I'm sure you can change the questions once you've taught the game to the kids. It takes a while to explain at first, but went down very well and is quite adaptable.

The main advantage of this game is that the entire class get to talk and have mini conversations.

You can also end the game easily at any point by seeing who's ahead (good if you're not sure how long you need to fill in a lesson).

Scoring system-
I used the Genki English monkey and tree scoring system with the first years, for the second and third years I used English celebrities (make sure you use the Queen as the kids all seemed to think she looks hilarious and didn't have a clue who she was), give each celebrity a goal (e.g. the Queen has a crown, Beckham has a goal, Harry Potter has a broom, Kate Winslet has an oscar, Kelly Holmes has a gold medal and Liam Gallager has some fish and chips). If you make the scoring system out of paper and use magnets on the back you can save lesson time drawing and just add the relevant number of markers up the side of the tree or along the celebrity's line. I got pictures from the internet of the celebrities and their goals for the second and third years and I used paper banana trees and photos of a monkeys for the first years.
Give each row a celebrity and put the celebrity on the board. Draw a line with 4 or more markers on it leading to the goal (each marker is one point), when a team wins a point the celebrity moves one mark closer to the goal.

* Explain the scoring and point concept to the kids, divide the class into 6 teams (each row is one team). Act out one round of the game below, pretending to be different kids and using strange voices (careful you don't embarrass the shy kids).

* Show the kids the target question and answer on the board, drill a couple of times then compete.

* The class must all stand up, when the teacher shouts "GO!" the first kid in each row must turn to the second kid and ask the target question e.g. "Do you like sushi?", the second kid gives the target answer e.g. "Yes, I do."/"No, I don't", then the second kid turns around and asks the kid sitting behind them "Do you like sushi?", this kid answers and asks the person sitting behind them.

* This continues until the last child in the row is asked the question, they answer to the person in front of them, then must quickly run to the front and ask the first player the target question. When the first player answers the last player must run back to their seat and everyone in the row must sit down.
Whichever row is the fastest wins one point.

* Move the winning team's monkey or celebrity one mark up the tree or towards the goal.

* Start over with a new question, the explanation and 9 questions took me a good 30 minutes in most classes, but once the kids know the game it would be much quicker. I varied the questions for all three JHS years, starting with "What's your name?" for all of them, so they had a chance to get used to how to play.

* When one team reaches its goal they win and all get a sticker. If you run out of time give the prizes to the team in front, if more than one team has the same number of points get them to play rock paper scissors 8or be generous and give stickers to both teams).

*NB* If there are uneven numbers in the rows (e.g. five rows with six kids and one row with five kids), get the rows with less kids in to finish at the same time as the others. I did this by getting their first player to ask the second player the question again (after the last kid has run up to the front and asked them) and the second player to answer again before the team can sit down.

This is a good game for getting the kids to speak quickly, but you do need to

a) make sure the kids are SAFE, that bags are under the desks and that they have enough room to run the length of the room safely.

b) keep an eye on who's first (if it's a close thing get them to play rock paper scissors to decide who wins the point).

c) give questions that the kids can answer relatively easily, making sure you leave the question and answer clearly visible on the board for kids to read if they need to.

For my grumpy third years who were too cool for school I numbered the rows and selected a row using a dice, then got them to stand up and play in front of the class while the others watched, as they refused to play properly when left to their own devices. Faced with the mild embarrassment of performing in front of their peers they tried harder and played quickly so that they could sit down again.
After a couple of rounds of this they were more than happy to play all together and speak properly.
This may not have been the most genki approach, but the kids didn't want to do anything at all and now know that they need to do activities properly if they want to be left alone.

The kids had a lot of fun and all of the kids that played this game said nine questions and nine answers aloud several times (during the drilling then once in the game), this means the WHOLE CLASS talked a lot.

Jennifer Willett

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