Contest Words

Sometimes it is tricky to keep students’ attention. When you sense that you are losing them, one way to get them back on track is to have several “contest words” that you can call out at any given time. When you call out the word, students must react with a designated action. The student to do the action first gets a prize of some kind or a participation point. Start off with only one word/action combination and add to the list as the year goes on. A good one to start with it “Listen!” (in the target language, course). Students must cup a hand behind one ear.

Below is a list of some other pairs of words and actions that you could use:

  • mannequin – strike a pose
  • science – yell “boom”
  • fall asleep – heads hit the desk
  • marry – down on one knee
  • oh man – hands slap the desk
  • by the way – snap with one hand
  • chop with the knife – Karate chop the desk
  • terrible – flick fingers on either side of the head
  • fall on the floor – fall on the floor

Source: Michael Miller, moreTPRS