In the Connect Four ESL game students have to get ‘four in a row’ by identifying correct word(s), for example irregular verb forms.
If you have the Internet and a projector, simply use our interactive Four In A Row game.
Otherwise draw a seven-column, six-row grid on the board, and fill it according to your target language. You could prepare this before class for a warmer, or elicit content from the students. An example with irregular verbs is shown below:
Divide the class into two teams. Assign each of the teams a colour (red and yellow for the interactive game) or shape.
- The teams take turns selecting boxes. When they select a box, they have to say the correct word(s) that match the box in order to mark it with their colour/shape.
- Depending on the age and level of your students, you may want to give them two or three chances (the game works better if teams have a similar number of goes). Ask for the spelling if their pronunciation is not clear.
- When one team gets four in a row of their colour/shape, they are the winner. As your goal is to practise as many words as possible, you may want to give teams hints to prolong the game.
- At the end of the game, review the unused boxes in the grid.
Because it’s so adaptable, you can play the Connect Four ESL game with beginner, intermediate or advanced level students. It works great as a warmer to review language that you will need that day. Or with lower levels, it could even form part of the main class. Your target language will determine how you fill the grid.
The most common way to play is with irregular verbs. Students would either have to say the past and/or the past participle forms to mark the box. This is perfect when teaching the past simple or present perfect simple (or as a review/warmer for any other grammar that uses past participles).
You could also use the Connect Four ESL game to review verb patterns. Fill the grid with verbs, and students would have to make a correct sentence using the verb (followed by the infinitive or gerund form, and an object if necessary).
If you want to practise at/in/on prepositions, fill the grid with different words that require them. Use times, places, modes of transport and other common expressions (on the test, on the way etc.).
One target language that could be adapted for all levels is synonyms and antonyms. Beginner students might be required to say simple opposites (e.g. big/small), while you could give advanced students complex vocabulary and ask them to give a valid synonym.
Finally, if you have the time to prepare it, you could even create a grid filled with images. Students would then have to say the object that is pictured, practising the vocabulary of your choice.
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