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Teach High School ESL Students About Directions with This Fun Game

written by: Audrey Alleyne • edited by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas • updated: 7/12/2012

This high school ESL game is great for teaching directions for the first time or as a refresher lesson and you can also grade how your ESL students perform after the game. This is a great game activity where students venture out into the streets and learn directions and is best for ESL high-school.

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    Some Useful Expressions

    Teach a high school ESL lesson for level four students to help them learn some basic expressions used in giving and taking directions for moving about in a village, city or town. If you have taught them directions before, refresh their minds with expressions like these:

    • Excuse me Sir/Madam, where can I find…

    or

    • Where is…?

    Give them names of places, which they could add to complete those questions, for example:

    • Excuse me Sir/Madam, where can I find a pharmacy around here?
    • Excuse me Sir/ Madam, where is the hospital?

    Include in this ESL lesson expressions like:

    • Take
    • Follow
    • Continue
    • Cross
    • Turn
    • The first street
    • The second street
    • On the (your) right
    • On the (your) left
    • At the corner of
    • One block away
    • Two (three, four) blocks
    • Go as far as
    • At the end of
    • Up the (this)
    • Down the (this)
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    Prepare for the Game

    Give students practice in combining these expressions with place names to form sentences, and then play this game. Depending on the size of the class, collect a number of items to represent places. Be sure to include place names, which include, for example, fruit, candy, pastry or stationery and books. The idea is for your students to have fun while learning. In their search, let them find something, which they can eat or use.

    This game is simple and can be played both indoors and outdoors. In this model game, we collect flowers to represent a park or florist shop; grapes, cookies or pastry to represent a supermarket; stamps or a stamped envelope for a post office; a hotel brochure for a hotel; a restaurant menu or a dessert, like a cup cake, for a restaurant; a painting for a museum; one or two books, pencils, or notes pad for a bookstore; and a bus ticket for a bus stop.

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    The Game

    First, ask your students to identify the places where they would find those items. Next number each item, and have students pick numbers from a basket. Students take turns at hiding the items and acting as passers-by to tourists or visitors, who ask for directions. For example:

    "Excuse me Sir/Madam, where can I find a florist shop?" Or, "Where is Lowry Park?"

    The student, who has hidden the flowers, can say (using the pathways outside the classroom as streets):

    "Go out this door, take the first street on your right, then the second on your left, and there is a florist on your right." Or, "Go out this door, turn right at the corner of the first street, and continue straight ahead about two blocks and the park are on your left."

    The students, who ask for the park or florist shop, restaurant, supermarket , post office, and bookstore, get to keep the flowers, cup cake, grapes, cookies or pastry, stamps , books, pencils stationery or notes pad.

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    Test Assessment

    If the game is used as a test, give students one point for each correct direction given and each correct direction understood. Give one-half point for partially correct directions and misunderstandings. This high school ESL lesson and game for your level four students will encourage great interest in students learning other place names, and playing similar games with respective items to represent the places chosen.