Thursday, 17 July 2014

Trash Ball Throwing Game! Fun English Speaking and Reading Game! Kinetic Learners Love It.

Currently my Grade 6 is studying the topic "Why are you so happy?" which is all about feelings and use of the 'why' question and 'because' answer sentences...( read to the end to here how I also played the game with my Grade 5's for the topic "I come to school at 8."

Now, the trash ball game - an excellent way to wake your class up, especially in this heat!

It's super easy. All you need is a white board, some scrunched up paper that forms balls and your students!

First, I wrote out on the board several because sentences or "I'm (emotion)" sentence. I spaced them out and drew bubbles around them so they'd be easier 'targets'.

Take a look at my white board to get the idea:

So I told my students that they have to throw the ball at the correct sentence on the board. I separated them into two teams, boys Vs. girls and two players throw at the same time, the first to hit the correct sentence earned a point.

However, there's an Englishy trick to this game! The teacher, (me) does not simply read the sentences written on the board but instead says a sentence that matches the reason or emotion.

For example, for the bubble on the board that has written inside it - " Because I lost my dog" the teacher would call out "I'm sad." In this way, the students have to find the correct sentence that matches the feeling of being 'sad'. I also reversed this by writing on the board such feeling sentences as, "I'm bored.", "I'm thirsty" and "I'm scared" . So, for example, the teacher calls out "because I can't swim" and that matches "I'm scared". This is a good way of keeping textbook dialogue in the lesson but also adding a revision aspect , as you can revisit vocabulary they have learnt prior.

Here's my sentences and match ups in case the board isn't clear enough:

I call out:                                     They throw ball at:

I'm sad.                                       Because I lost my dog.
I'm angry.                                     Because Brain broke my pencil. 
I'm happy.                                      Because I got a new bike.
I'm tired.                                 Because I cleaned my house.
I'm hungry.                                     Because I didn't eat breakfast.
I'm busy.                                       Because I have lots of homework.
Because I can't swim.                    I'm scared.
Because I forgot my water bottle.     I'm thirsty.
Because I can't play outside.           I'm bored.

Now I also did this with Grade 5's "I come to school at 8." I made it easier by simply calling out the sentences on the board. But to make it more interesting I made them put their back to the white board and they could only turn to throw the ball once I'd finished talking. The sentences were the  from the textbook and some others I've added, they include:

I get up at 7.
I go to school at 8.
I have breakfast at 7:30.
I have lunch at 12.
I have dinner at 7.
I go to bed at 10.
I play soccer at 5:30.
I take a shower at 8.
I come home at 2:30.

Happy Teaching!


  1. Hi Baia!

    Is there any way to modify this game for adult learners? I teach an English class for adult learners where the average age is 65 and there's one lady who has lost the use in one of her hands. Something that doesn't involve throwing but still teaches why and because.

    I saw your snakes and ladders game and that may work, but just wanted to know if you had any other suggestions.

    Thanks so much for always having great ideas!

    1. I would play this with adults that are up beat and into movement haha, but I know sometimes it's more difficult with some adult classes. And idea I might try would be to teach the why and because phrases first, and then do a simple speaking game where you pull a card from a pack that has an emotion on it . "I am sad" etc and then go around the room and ask the students to reply with a "because" sentence. This is definitely higher level but also more conversation inclined, no moving necessary. You could also do the reverse (because cards instead of emotions) to practice.