My 10th graders had learned about Natives in the English-speaking world for quite some time, and I wanted them to practice the vocabulary that they had learned in class. My goal was to find an activity that they would think was fun and also benefit from. I decided to use an activity that I have had a lot of success with in the past in Spanish class. I don’t know if there is an English word for this game, but in Norwegian it is called “alias”.
I split the pupils into groups of three. Then they got around 25 different cards with words on that were related to either the Inuit, Maoris, Aborigines or Native Americans. They had to pick a card and try to explain the word to the other pupils without saying it. There were words ranging from “Canada” (fairly easy) to “Cultural assimilation” (quite difficult). The person guessing the word kept the card. In the end they counted how many cards they had (1 card = 1 point regardless of difficulty level) and the person with most cards won the game. I was surprised to see how well they all did and how much they actually knew. Also, they really helped each other when they had problems with difficult words. There were a lot of smiling and laughing going on during the game and the feedback I got back from the pupils was overall really good. In addition, I think this was a good practice for the mini-talk I had with the pupils about this particular subject the following week.
I really like this activity, for numerous reasons. It is quite easy to organize, except the part of making the cards. Also, the pupils love it and they feel that it is really useful. It gives a chance for them to practice how to say the different words, how to explain them and also how to use them in different contexts. I believe that this activity is good for practicing the 5 re’s: repetition, rehearsal, retention, retrieval and recycling.