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English in the Gym

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 5 months ago

English in the Gym


Eric McCarron


GRADE LEVEL: Elementary School
SKILLS: Listening Speaking
TIME: ~45-60 minutes
MATERIALS: Large flash cards, lots of short rope or ribbons, balls, witches hats, blackboard or whiteboard
OBJECTVES: Using physical activities to coach English words and phrases such as `Catch`, `Jump`, `Nice pass` etc., and review key English topics such as colors, animals etc (adjustable according to level of students)
PLACE: Gymnasium or in a very large room




Create teams and designate a team captain. It would be useful to create easy chants for each team to boost morale.


(PS, to save breath, it is useful to demo a lot of these activities rather than explain them.)


1. Physical Warm-up

Do a physical warm-up in English. It doesn’t have to be professional or at an athletes level, just keep it flowing. A good way to do warm ups in English is using a chant and make the kids repeat it. For example:

Let’s walk-walk -walk-walk (in a circle would be more ergonomic)

Let’s run -run-run-run (again run in a circle, then)

Let’s jump- jump jump-jump (and so on, your imagination is the limit)


2. True or False

This is a simple warm up. Designate a side of the room for `true` or maru and the other side of the room as false or batsu. Then, ask the students a question and if they think its true they move to the true side if they think it’s false they move to the false side of the room. Usually you get a lot of students hanging in the middle, so help them decide by placing a time limit (i.e. 10 seconds) and having a physical divide like a string or rope.

This is quite passive but good for getting participation. Assign points to each team by giving one point for each member that gets it right.


3. Three legged race

Send each team to a corner. Within the teams, pair up the students. Issue out the rope or ribbon to each pair. Tie their legs together so that they form three legs. Make them line up so that they are facing the center of the gymnasium. Spread the flash cards randomly in the center of the floor. The goal for the kids is to grab the flashcard which you call out and then say that flashcard out loud for a point. Join in and tie your leg to the JTEs and give a demo of running out and grabbing the designated flashcard.


4. Answer the question dash

Then line up the teams so they face off one direction.

Then place an item, usually something soft, like a teddy bear, a ball or a balloon, equidistant from the teams. Ask a simple question like, ‘What color is an apple?’ Students who know the answer must run and grab the item out in front of them. Then answer the question. They get a point for the right answer.


5. English Dodgeball

Most schools play this game, so the onus on you is to provide easy English expressions they can use during the game and to drill it a few times. A few useful expressions are `Pass`, `Nice throw`, Watch out`, etc. Again assign points to a team.


Finally add all the points and starting from the last team announce their points and give each team a round of applause to show that all teams are winners for participation. You may want to select MVPs from each team if you want to highlight any particular students’ outstanding participation.

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