Board games like Snakes and ladders have been around the EFL block for a while because they add the element of fun to the English classroom and are certainly a very useful way to develop more effective classroom dynamics.

Author: 
Arizio Sweeting

I decided to adapt the Snakes and ladders game to give the learners in my group an opportunity to discuss cultural differences between countries.

Preparation

Before my lesson, I modified the typical Snakes and ladders game board so that it could give my learners an opportunity not only to make comments but also to interview other people in the class.

On the game board I alternated the words in the squares between Ask and Tell and drew a few snakes randomly along the board. I decided to get rid of the ladders since I thought the board would look far too crowded.

Then, I created two game cards, an Ask card and a Tell card, using different colour cardboard paper. The Ask card was printed onto yellow paper and the Tell card onto pink.

I also needed dice and counters. I separated two dice and four counters for each group of four learners.

Procedure

I'd recommend demonstrating to the learners what to do to make sure they know the rules of the game, particularly because my group had never played a Snakes and ladders game before.

Tell your learners that they must throw the dice and move their counter the appropriate number of squares. If the counter lands on an Ask square, the learner must pick up the Ask card and select one question and use it to interview as many people as he/she likes in the group. Alternatively, if the counter lands on a Tell square, the learner needs to select one topic from the Tell card and talk about it for approx. 1 min.

The game goes on in this manner until someone reaches the Finish square.

If a counter, however, lands at a snake's mouth, the learner must move his/her counter over the snake's body to its tail and follow the new instruction, which will be either Ask or Tell.

While my learners were playing the game, I took notes of their comments and wrote them on the board, fixing some linguistic problems, to use at the end of the activity.

At the end of the activity, I asked the learners to read the comments on the board and decide which country they think those comments referred to.

Finally, I asked the learners to talk to each other and, using the same comments, discuss whether these customs would apply to other countries, like Great Britain or Australia.

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Language level
Language Level: 
Pre-intermediate: A2

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