Play at Work: 5 Ways to Make Text Book Exercises Fun

Play at Work
5 Ways to Make Text Book Exercises Fun

Susan Verner
by Susan Verner 8,125 views |

Text book activities are an easy go to in class.

They target the specific skills students are learning, and they are right there ready to go, just open to the right page. But sometimes doing exercises from the book can be just plain boring. Students go through the motions, but how much effort are they really putting into what they do? You can help motivate your students when they are doing textbook exercises and have fun in the process. Check out these not so typical ways to do book exercises in class. P.S. They’re really fun.

5 Ways to Make Text Book Exercises Fun

  1. 1

    Coin Toss

    If you have a book exercise that you want your students to do with a partner, try this simple fix. All you will need is the textbook exercise and a coin for every two people. Put students in pairs and give them each a coin or have them use their own. One student goes first. He will have to answer question number one – if the toss of the coin tells him to. He chooses either heads or tails and then his partner tosses the coin. If the first student called the toss right (i.e. called heads and the coin landed on heads) his partner must answer question number one. If he called the toss wrong, he has to answer question number one. Then the other student gets question number two. If he calls the toss right, his partner answers it. If he calls the toss wrong, he must answer the question. Students continue tossing and answering questions until they get to the end of the exercise. This way of doing an exercise will take longer than the traditional taking turns answering, but it is a whole lot more fun. You can also tie a cultural element to the activity by asking students to bring a coin from their home currency. Give each student a minute or two to talk about what it on the coin. That way you get a speaking activity as a bonus.

  2. 2

    Rated, Weighted Questions

    How daring are your students? How willing are they to put their English skills to the test? You just might find out with this simple and risk-taking way to answer questions from the text book. First, have your students work in groups of about four or five to look at all the questions they will answer from the book and divide those questions into five categories. The categories represent how difficult each question is to answer. Then have all your student groups come together and agree on which questions should be in which category. Now that the questions are sorted, have students recopy them onto separate pages or label them in the book so they know which questions are in which difficulty level. Now it’s time to play. Students will race to score fifteen points. They score points by answering one of the textbook questions. One point for the easy questions in group one, five points for the hardest questions in group five, etc. On their turns, students must decide how difficult of a question they want to answer. If they answer correctly, they score the points – from one to five – depending on what question they chose. If they answer incorrectly, that number of points is subtracted from their score. The best situation would be to have students play in groups of four or five, but you can also play as an entire class. The first student to fifteen points wins and doesn’t have to answer any more questions. Play until each person has gotten to fifteen points.

  3. 3

    Candyland Remix

    An old Candy Land game can be recycled to take textbook exercises to a whole new level. In fact, you can use any game that has a road-like path that travels to an end goal (though you want to avoid any that have just a few spaces along the road). You will need one game board for every group of around four students as well as one standard die. To play, students roll the die on their turn and move that many spaces. Then they must answer a question from the book. If they answer correctly, they stay on that space and the next person takes their turn. If they answer incorrectly, they must return to where they started that turn. The first person who gets to the end goal wins. So keep your eyes open for resale shops and garage sales where you might be able to get game boards for next to nothing.

  4. 4

    Tic-Tac-Told You So

    You can play tic-tac-toe in a similar fashion. You may want to take a minute to review the game rules with your students. Once you have done that, put your students in pairs, and have them play the simple children’s game while they answer questions. On one person’s turn, she must answer a question from the book. If she answers correctly, she can put an X or an O on the board. Then the next person must answer a question. If he answers correctly, he can put his X or O on the board. If at any time someone answers the question incorrectly, he or she may not put an X or O on the board that turn and play moves to the other person. If one student is able to score three in a row on the tic-tac-toe board, he wins the round and the players draw up a new board. Play continues until each pair has answered all of the question in the book. Whoever won more games of tic-tac-toe wins the activity.

  5. 5

    Rolling for Answers

    In this simple activity, a quick roll of the die determines how many answers to a question each student must give. This activity works best with textbook activities that feature open ended questions. You can play this game in small groups (so students get more turns) or as an entire class (so everyone gets to play together and hear each other’s answers). On a student’s turn, he rolls a standard six-sided die. Then, ask that student an open ended question such as the following: What would you take with you on vacation? Whatever number the student rolls, that is how many answers he must give. If you want to make the activity more challenging, have students roll two dice on their turns. In this game, the higher your roll, the harder the game becomes.

Working on exercises from your text doesn’t have to be boring, and with a little creativity you can change things up for your students for the better.

They will be more engaged in the activity, have more fun, and work harder to come up with the correct answers. Everyone wants to be the winner, after all.

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