Using Games in the Classroom to Teach Parts of Speech


Let’s face it: grammar isn’t always fun. In fact, it’s hardly ever fun, unless you’re a real English geek (I can say that because I am one; really, I have the t-shirts to prove it). If your students hate grammar as much as mine do, try incorporating a game into your grammar instruction. This simple game format can be adapted for various purposes, including foreign language classes. Use the Magic Wand Game to teach your students about parts of speech, and they’ll be begging you for more grammar lessons.

Set up the Game

In order to play this game, you will need an LCD projector and Powerpoint software. Set up your PPT slides to include sentences with specific highlighted words, and a list of the parts of speech. For example, a slide might read:

The dog ran to the corner.

noun verb adjective adverb

You can set up your slides so that you can use one sentence with various words highlighting at the click of the mouse. This way you get more usage out of each sentence you choose. You can list all of the parts of speech on each slide, or only a few; the choice is yours.

You will also need two magic wands to play this game. You can get them at a dollar or discount store very cheaply. Some teachers with less dramatic flair might choose to use rulers or fly swatters instead; if that’s your preference, then don’t let me stop you.

Play the Game

Divide your class into two teams. Tell students that a representative from each team will come to the front of the room and identify parts of speech in various sample sentences.

Have the two representatives hold a magic wand each behind their backs, and turn to face the screen. When you display the slide, the first student to tap the correct part of speech with his or her wand is the winner; that representative continues to play, and the losing team replaces their representative. Continue playing in this manner until you run out of sentences.

You will have to establish a few ground rules. Tell students to be gentle with your wands and the screen, or you will end the game. No fighting over wands (and believe me, they will, especially the boys) and no arguing with your judgment calls about the winner of each round. If you have to, you can stop the game early and give them a really boring worksheet to use; this will put an end to future squabbles over the game.

This game is ideal for filling time, because you can play for as little or as long as you like. Your students get to practice their grammar and you get a little break in your day. It’s a win-win situation.