Time’s Up!

Time’s Up!

“Times Up!” is a creative spin on the traditional “Hot Potato” game but tailored for ESL learners. It combines the thrill of the ticking clock with practical English-speaking practice, ensuring students are both engaged and learning.

The Game Essentials:

For “Times Up!”, you'd need a timer that gives off an alarm when it goes off. While the Hot Potato Electronic is ideal because of its fun music and soft build, you can also use a toy bomb or even a simple egg timer placed inside a box. This game can accommodate both small and larger groups. For bigger classes, you might want to use multiple timers. The game is versatile, suitable for kids in elementary school through to adults, and depending on the group size and language targets, it can last between 5 and 15 minutes.

Playing “Times Up!”:

Start by getting everyone to sit in a circle and preferably have a confident student next to you. Show them the timer, and playfully demonstrate the alarm, maybe by pretending to be sad to emphasize that they don't want to be holding it when it goes off. Set your timer for a duration between 20 and 90 seconds. Then, begin the game by stating a target phrase, like “Hello, my name is Kevin” and pass the timer to the next student. The aim is for them to repeat the phrase and pass the timer on.

As the game progresses, keep varying the sentences to make it more challenging. Towards the end, try to merge some practised sentences, ensuring that while the students have fun, they're also solidifying their learning.

For a thrilling conclusion, you can introduce the elimination round. Here, if the timer goes off when a student is holding it, they're out. The game continues until there's just one student left, and they're the winner.

“Times Up!” isn't just about speaking; it’s about reacting quickly in English, making it both a test of their language skills and reflexes. It's entertaining and educational, a perfect combo for an ESL class.

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