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Language Games/Activities/Ideas for Teenagers

Activities for Inclusion

  • Syntax & Morphology:
  • Sentence Scramble: Make a list of about 30 sentences containing clauses, phrases, after, before, passive voice, emphatic verbs, etc. Some examples:
  • He fixed the roof after it leaked.
  • We ate dinner after we went to the movie.
  • I fed the dog before I took him for a walk.
  • The boy was followed by the girl.
  • The boy gave the girl an ice cream.
  • Didn't you put the book up?
  • Use index cards to make scrambled sentences. Using the first sentence example, you would write "he fixed" on one card, "the roof" on another, "after" on another, "it" on a card, "leaked" on the last. This particular sentence makes about 4 possible sentences, (the roof leaked after he fixed it, he fixed the roof after it leaked, after the roof leaked he fixed it, after he fixed the roof, it leaked,)so on the bottom corner of one of the cards, write a small '4.' I paper clip each 'set' of cards that belong together. Once you have a bunch of these sets, 30 or so, you can place them in a manilla envelop. On your day of inclusion, split your kids into groups of 3. Give each group about 5 sets of sentence scrambles. Each group must get the same number of possible sentences. I do it this way: First, I pass out a set of cards that makes 2 possible sentences to each group of kids. Second, I pass out sets of cards that make 4 possible sentences, etc. Then I instruct each group they will need one piece of paper and one pen per group. Each group unscrambles the sentences and writes down all possible sentences. If you want to add an element of competitiveness, you can give points to the group that gets the highest percentage correct.
  • UNDER CONSTRUCTION--- this site will undergo additions and changes within the next few days. I'm still adding activities... 9-4-4.

Figurative Language

  • Idioms Bingo: I use this in inclusion high school classrooms. I group the students in groups of 2 or 3 and pass out idioms or figures of speech on index cards, 1 idiom/card, to each group. I give each group about 5 cards. Then I give the definition for one of them and each group goes through their cards to see if they have the right idiom. The group that has the correct idiom gives me their card. The first to rid themselves of all their idiom cards, gets the "Bingo."

Publish a Teen Magazine

  • Use the following ideas to publish a teen magazine. Teen magazine sites can be found online and some I use can be accessed by clicking on this link.... Teen Mag Links
  • Write a Why-Me Story: Have your students write a story about their most mortifying moment.
  • Write a So-bad story: Have your students write a story about something "so bad" that they have done.
  • Teen Quiz: Your students can answer a teen quiz from a magazine or an online magazine. This is a motivating activity for students that need experience answering questions.
  • Write a Poem: Students can read poetry written by other teens and then write their own. They may even submit their poems to online teen magazines.
  • Movie Star Interview: Have a student or group of students write questions they'd like to ask their favorite movie star. Have them then assume that stars character and answer the questions.
  • Preparing for the Real World: Have students write an article detailing the steps in sequence for such events as preparing for the prom, job searching, studying for finals, etc.
  • Teen Fiction: Also available in teen magazines are works of fiction written by teenagers. Have students read these stories to meet goals such as paraphrasing, re-telling events, detailing characters, etc. The material should be more motivating and usually easier to read. Also, after reading a short story by a teen, have them write their own short stories.
  • 10 Tips Article: Have your teens read an article typically found in teen magazines, such as "Ten Types of Guys to Avoid" and then have them write their own. Some ideas may include: dealing with his phone dysfunction, handling a flirtatous boyfriend or girlfriend, dating disasters, get him/her to notice you, finding the right guy/girl for you, ways to blow a date, things guys/girls don't want to hear.
  • Song Spot Light: Have students bring the lyrics to a song and use these to define unknown vocabulary, explain figurative language, paraphrase or summarize the meaning of the song. Students can write a critique of the song for the magazine. Students can also play a guessing game with several songs they've worked on. Give each student a card with the song title written on the card and each takes turns summarizing and describing the song without giving the title away. Other students have to guess which song is beig described.
  • Mom Disasters: Help your students write a story about how Mom totally embarrassed them, spoiled thier fun, etc.
  • Horror-scope: Students can write tongue-in-cheek horoscopes for their friends or a teacher.
  • Pro-Con Column: Select a topic for a pair of students to write opposing columns for. Keep topics concrete for students with learning and language disorders. Topics, such as the death penalty, may be too abstract and too far removed from their lives. Use topics such as the dress code, lunch menu, jocks-- good or evil?, best superhero, prom royalty, summer vs winter break, etc.
  • Recipes: If you're as lucky as I am to live in such a culture rich state such as New Mexico, have your students bring their favorite recipes for publication in their teen magazine. They have to write a short paragraph explaining the significance of their recipe, such as, "My mom, my tia and I always make this recipe for tamales every Christmas. It takes a lot of practice to make tamales right, but it's a labor of love and a family tradition."
  • After your articles are written and typed up, have students then make up a table of contents and lay-out the magazine. Artistic students can illustrate for stories and articles and design the cover.

Language Games

  • Who Am I?: Each person has a piece of paper pinned to her back or taped to her forehead which contains the name of a famous person or character. By asking questions which can only be answered "yes" or "no," such as "Am I alive?" or "Am I fictional?" each person has to guess his or her name.
  • Guest of the Party: Three people are taken out of the room and each is given a card describing a person (personality, characteristic). A fourth person is nominated host and must guess the personality or characteristic as each person enters the "party" within a certain time frame.
  • I Have Never...: Each person receives several counters (pennies) and sits in a circle. Each takes turns around the circle, telling of something he has never done. For example, "I have never broken a bone," or "I have never traveled out of the country." Anyone who has done this must give the speaker 1 of the tokens. After going around the circle several times, the person with the most tokens wins.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Split a group into 2 and give each a list of language items to complete, find or define, etc. For example, the list may include "List 2 nouns." and "Define in everyday words the word _________." or "Write a complete sentence using the word until." Kids can use the library, internet, teachers, etc.
  • Memory Game: Place target vocabulary words or pictures on a table and cover them with a cloth. Remove the cloth for 60 seconds and let the students study them and then replace the cloth. Then have each try to draw or write each picture or word in 30 seconds.
  • Grapevine: Whisper a target sentence in one person's ear, each person must whisper it exactly as they heard it, to the next person. No repetitions are aloud. The last person to hear it, says it out loud to see if it matches the original.

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