Realia And Flashcard Activities For Prepositions Of Position
Ways of revising vocabulary as you present prepositions like “on” and “above”, or revising prepositions like these as you present new vocabulary.
This is a well-known memory game in which objects are taken away or added while a scene is hidden and students compete to be the first to spot the change once it is revealed, e.g. putting a cloth over a collection of classroom stationery and then students racing to be the first to see that you’ve taken away the eraser and added an envelope. Exactly the same game can be played with prepositions being necessary to explain the changes, e.g. placing the eraser on the ruler or the envelope between the two staplers. You could also make the changes without hiding, e.g. disturbing the scene with a hairdryer or thrown ball. You can also do the same thing with the classroom, asking students to close their eyes or turn around while you move the teacher’s chair in front of the window, ask Steve to stand behind the door, etc. Flashcards can also be hidden and moved around in the same way, but you will need to make sure flashcards which are under others are at least still partially visible.
Other Preposition Memory Games
A simpler memory game is simply to show students a scene or let them look around the classroom, then ask them to close their eyes and answer questions on what they saw, such as “Where is the cat?”, “What is between the chair and the wall?” and “Is the dog under the table?” Something similar can be done with flashcards by having smaller flashcards that are placed on, in, under, next to and between larger flashcards. The smaller flashcards which are still visible are then turned over to test students’ memories with “Where is the (picture of a) refrigerator?” etc.
In Your Positions
This is not really a game but is still fun and can keep students alert all through the lesson. Before students come into the room, place things you will need during the lesson such as the story book and whiteboard pens in unusual places, e.g. on the curtain rail and under the teacher’s desk. As you need them during the class ask students where they are and follow their instructions until you “find” them. The same thing can be made into more of a game by placing flashcards and/or realia all around the room (mainly or totally in places that are difficult but possible to see) and getting them to put up their hands to say where those things are.
Walk And Hide
Placing objects around the classroom can also be done while they are looking, e.g. by blocking their view with your body as you place the projector remote control behind a book on the bookshelf. You can then ask them where they are when you need them, ask for each object in turn, or let them put up their hands and shout out the positions that they can guess. This works best if you take one flashcard or object at a time and pretend to place it in other positions before and after you really put it somewhere, then go back to your desk to collect the next thing to hide. As this can lead to quite a long period of silence, you might want to get students chanting all the positions where you put your hand during this set up stage.
Run And Hide
Students can also challenge each other in the same way as above. Give each of them one or two objects and shout “Go”. They should each run and hide their object somewhere while also keeping an eye on where other people are putting theirs. They then sit down and take turns guessing where other people’s objects are. This game can also be played in teams with just one person from each doing the hiding.
Hide On Your Self
The hiding can also be done without moving from where you are, e.g. by putting a plastic elephant in your sock and a plastic giraffe behind your knee (by folding your leg back to hold it in position). The students can also take part in this by sitting everyone in a circle with all the objects in the middle. On the count of three students grab and hide as many things as they can in their shoes, between their elbows, etc.
Students could also ask questions to find a hidden object, e.g. Yes/No questions like “Is it near the board?” or Wh- questions like “Which wall is it nearest?” Although that makes it no longer really a realia game, the most challenging version is for the class to decide where to hide an “invisible pen” (meaning an imaginary one), and the person looking to ask for enough detail such that they can “take” it from exactly the place where it is supposed to be.
Flashcards, Objects, Running And Placing
If objects or flashcards are placed all around the room, students can be asked to run to the right place to put their bodies or something they are holding “Between the teddy’s ears”, “Behind the (picture of a) grandfather”, etc.
A searching game can be made much more elaborate and include more reading and/or writing by turning it into a treasure hunt in which several steps must be followed in the correct order to find each object. This is often done with directions language too but is quite possible as just “Clue number three is under the teacher’s desk” etc.
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic blog.