English Vocabulary Teaching Strategies – The “What’s Missing?” Game
Separate your class into smaller groups of up to 5 students. Work with each group individually.
For this vocabulary exercise it’s best to gather the real-life physical objects of the vocabulary you are teaching. For example, if you are working on vocabulary for food or school supplies (pens, pencils, files, erasers, textbooks, notebooks etc.) it would be easy to find these items and use them for this class activity.
In case you are teaching English vocabulary for which it is hard to get real-life objects, you can always print a stack of small pictures of the different objects and use that instead.
Sit around at a table with all 5 students. Place the objects on the table, so that everybody can see them. Ask them to take a good look at what is on the table and to try to remember what they see. Next, ask them to close their eyes. With their eyes closed, remove one object and hide it. When done, ask the students to open their eyes and tell you what’s missing. Repeat the process multiple times.
This vocabulary game is fun, and engaging. Once the object has been found by any of the participants, they try hard to remember what the word for that object is in English. It keeps the students focused, challenged, and gives them a sense of competition, as they try to come first with the answer.
In this game it is important to remember that you have to use a limited amount of objects so that you can repeat the process fast. If you have 5 students around the table, use no more than 7 different objects, so that it is easy for the students to remember what’s on the table when you first ask them. The point here is to work fast, and get answers fast. That is what makes the game rewarding.
This game can also be used when teaching action verbs as long as you have a stack of good pictures.