Sports Day, English Day!

3, 2, 1…GO!” yelled fellow MY teacher David. Our team, Blue Team, were on our feet to find the first clue in our Scavenger Hunt list. It was a gloomy Sunday morning, but neither the light drizzle nor the gray clouds were enough to dampen the mood of some 40 kids who joined MY English School’s 2023 Sports Day event for the Higashine and Tendo schools.

Events like Sports Day are more than just an opportunity for the kids to be out of the classroom, to run around, and to play games.  Events double as venues for students to use meaningful, communicative English.

Here are some examples from Sports Day:

“Sticker, please.”
Even before the games begin, students start using English during registration time. Teachers ask students to look for their names on the sticker sheet. Kinder-age kids practice useful classroom English such as “May I have my name sticker, please?” or simply just “Sticker, please.” Name stickers color-coded by team are also an opportunity to review colors. This part of the program alone already includes reading and speaking practice, plus some vocabulary review.

“What’s your name?”
To get to know other team members, everyone asks, “What’s your name?” Follow-up questions include “How old are you?” and “Where do you live?” A warmup activity like stretching is a chance to review body parts and movements–“Touch your feet. Stretch your arms up.”

“Two steps backward. Throw.”
At the same time as students test their throwing and catching skills–and most probably get wet from bursting balloons–the leader’s instructions (“Two steps backward.” “One big step backward.” “Throw!” “Catch!”) challenge students at listening and following directions in a water balloon toss game.

“What’s the secret message?”
Our Scavenger Hunt offers more than just a treasure hunt activity for students. Kids practice listening to instructions like “Run” and “Walk.” They have to decipher new vocabulary and prepositions.  Upon finding the clue, students practice what they have learned in the classroom–ask “What is it?” or “What number is it?” Older students get a chance to read the clue. “Go to the flag poles near the park sign.” Little by little, our clues fill in a secret message.  Once the secret message is complete, it is a chance to use language to ask for something. In our case, it was “Candy, please!”

How about in your school? How do you do your Sports Day event? What activities outside the classroom provide opportunities for students to use meaningful and communicative English?

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Author: Angelo Morales

Angelo started teaching at MY in 2022.

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