By Kevin Fabris

November 20, 2016

5 - 10 Minutes, Big Class, Easy ESL Games,, EFL, ESL, Fun, Game, No Materials Required, Practice It, Small Class, Warm Up, Young Learner

This classroom game comes from Nelis.  Nelis is an English teacher born and raised in South Africa that has been living in Kyoto, Japan since 2008.  He believes that children's  classes shouldn't be confined to desks and textbooks.  He likes active games that keep kids thinking.  Nelis has a background in graphic design and loves coming up with flashcards and other classroom materials for his students.   His game is called Alien Tag.

Alien Tag is a tweak on the game “tag”.  In Japan "tag" is known as "onigokko" (or demon play).  Nelis changed the word demon to alien which we think was a great choice.

The Details About Alien Tag:

  • This is a great game for young learners to practice their ABC's and spelling simple words.
  • You need a class with 3 or more students.
  • Nelis recommends using this game at the beginning of class as a way to help calm the students down when they have too much energy.  We're thinking it would work also be a great reward type game to play at the end of the day.
  • There are no materials required.
  • A game usually lasts between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the size of your class.

Here's How To Play Alien Tag

  1. Set a timer for 5 - 7 minutes.  This adds a little excitement and keeps the game moving.
  2. Start by asking your students:  "Who is the alien?"  Your class will usually pick the teacher the first round.  Here you should be modeling answers like "You are the alien" or "I am the alien."
  3. The first alien has to pick a random letter from the alphabet and then think of a word that starts with that letter.   In this example will use the letter "C" and the word "cat".
  4. As soon as the alien says the word "cat" (starts with the letter "C") the game is on.  The alien must run and try and tag one of their classmates.
  5. Once a classmate has been tagged they become the new alien.  The new alien must think of another letter and say it outloud.  We'll use the letter "P".    Each letter can only be used once.
  6. After saying "P" outloud the second alien must then think of a word that starts with "P", e.g. "Panda" and say it for the class to hear.  After saying the word the game is on again and the alien can begin trying to tag their classmates.  If a student makes a mistake and says a word that starts with a different letter e.x. "P" "Picycle", take the opportunity to add some positive correction and help that student think of another word that starts with that letter.
  7. Repeat the process as necessary.  
  8. This game continues until either the timer expires or you've made it through all 26 letters in the alphabet.

Alien Tag:

    • It's an easy way to practice the alphabet and spelling simple words.
    • It's fun
    • Your students will love it!

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