Swimming with Sharks – Modifiable Board Game

This week’s Spotlight lesson is Swimming with Sharks! Having a blank board game like this one is very useful for teachers—there are so many ways it can be modified.

This game is an adaptation of Snakes & Ladders, a game that progresses by rolling a dice and trying to be the first to reach the end. Nets allow students to skip some spaces, while red squares knock students back several spaces. Because this board is blank, teachers can modify it to suit whatever language target students are studying!

Modification examples

  • Vocabulary: Write one word on each space. Students must define the word or form a correct sentence using that word. If they are unable to, they have to miss their next turn, go back two spaces, etc.
  • Word structure: Write one word on each space. Students must say the number of syllables the word has. If they are unable to, they have to miss their next turn, go back two spaces, etc.
  • Grammar – lower levels: If students are studying the modal “can,” for example, write a short question on each space (e.g., Can you swim?). Students must answer “Yes, I can” or “No, I can’t.” If they are able, have them follow up with one more sentence about the topic (e.g., “I like swimming” or “I went swimming yesterday”).
  • Grammar – intermediate/higher levels: If students are studying gerunds and infinitives, for example, write a verb on each space (want, need, enjoy, advise, etc.). When students land on the square they must make a sentence using that verb followed by a gerund or infinitive. If they are unable to, they have to miss their next turn, go back two spaces, etc.

Check out Tara’s blog post, Adapting Board Games for Young Learners, for other ways this board can be used. She has some creative suggestions such as adding pronunciation or drawings, and even having young learners make up their own rules!

Find this lesson in the Games Room – Board Games.

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Adapting Board Games for Young Learners
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Pronunciation Game: A Plural Party
Guess the Travel Memory Game
Alphabet Name Game

     

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