More Fun with Word Lists


My teaching style comes from my own experiences of learning a language. In school, I enjoyed learning German. I was good at it. Learning new grammar or new words was a breeze. I can still recite off my accusative and dative prepositions. I thought maybe I was lucky and was born with a gift for languages.

When I came to Russia, I thought that Russian would be just as easy for me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Daily living involved a lot of pantomime. Whether I was trying to tell the shop keeper which item I wanted from behind the counter, or trying to give directions to a taxi driver, I did a ridiculous amount of hand waving.

I became very good at charades. When you have a limited vocabulary, it takes a great deal of creativity to express a thought. Or to use gestures to describe an abstract idea. Example, how would you use play charades for the word “hotel”? This creative task exercises the language center of the brain and builds memory associations for new words (the student will remember the time they learned the word monkey when they were jumping up and down like a crazy person).

How to play Charades AKA Крокодил

I have jars with my cut out my words from my word lists.  I keep the difficult words separate from the medium and easy words so my students are playing with the appropriate level. We take turns picking a word and acting it out. The student has to guess the word. If they know the word, just not in English, I let them guess in their native language. Then we discuss the English word and it becomes a vocabulary word to learn. When it is their turn and they pick a word they do not know, they can either pick another word, or we will play Hangman.


About ltpickens

Private English tutor for children and adults in Krasnodar, Russia.

One response to “Charades

  1. Pingback: Present Continuous | Awesome Teacher

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