What Are You Doing?
This is a great basic game that can be added to and adapted to meet so many language goals in your classroom. But here are the basics to get you started:
Step One: Whole Class.
Group stands or sits in a circle. One person goes into the center of the circle (or just stands at their seat) and starts an action (such as brushing her teeth).
The person goes into the center, and asks, “What are you doing?”
The person brushing her teeth answers by saying something other than what she is doing. “I’m dribbling a basketball.”
The first person then leaves or sits, and the new person starts “dribbling a basketball.” Then a new person goes in and asks, “What are you doing?”
And so on…
Encourage students to make new choices each time. (No repeats.)
I start this with the whole class in order to make sure that everyone understands the game. But the real language benefit (building fluency and speed of recall) happens with groups of 5 or fewer. In large classes of over 30 I have had students break up into groups of 5 and work simultaneously—this is the least pressure as no one is ‘watching’. I also have had groups of 2, 3, 4 and 5 come up and perform in front of the whole class. Do whatever will bring the most benefits to your students as they strive toward fluency.
Here are some ‘constraints’ you can bring into this:
• Add a location (I am brushing my teeth in the bathroom)
• Add a descriptive adverb (I am running quickly)
• Add a descriptive adjective (I am lifting a heavy box)
You can also add a "game" element to it by playing it as an elimination game for the two person version--If one player hesitates, or repeats something they are eliminated and another player takes over.