A Short Guide to Miming Games
Comments: Games which involve students miming - that is to say, using their bodies to convey the meaning of an action or an expression which the others have to guess - are extremely popular and with good reason. They are suitable for all levels since they don't always require a lot of language, they are a great way to revise or check students understanding of new language, they are inherently fun and silly (which is always a good thing!) and, if organised well, they can involve all the members of class at the same time. Below is a brief description of the procedure and some things to remember, and then after that short descriptions of possible miming games.
-When giving instructions for miming games, always try to do one or two examples yourself with the students so they are clear about what they have to do. It's also useful to ask a few questions to check that they are clear about the instructions, e.g. can you speak during the activity? Can you show your group what is written on your piece of paper?
-It's better to avoid organising the game so that there is only one person at the front of the class miming while the rest of the class are guessing. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the person at the front may feel uncomfortable having everyone look at him or her; secondly, it limits the number of people involved since there is only one person miming and only one or two people may be guessing.
-Depending on your class size it's better if you either divide the class into two groups (this works well with slightly smaller classes, say 10-15 students) or into four-six groups (this is better for large classes of of 20-40 students)
-If you have two groups,then the easiest way to inform the mimers of the word they have to mime is if they come to you and you show them the word on a piece of paper. If you have a larger number of groups, it's easier to manage if you give each group the words on pieces of paper face down and they take them themselves.
-It's often good fun - though not obligatory - to make these games competitive with teams competing for points. So, for example, if you have two students at the front, the team that guesses first gets the point. If you have the students working in groups, then it's the team that finishes first or who have mimed the most words in a specified time limit who are the winner.
-Students mime individual words that they have recently learnt, such as professions, sports or hobbies. This is particularly good for lower levels.
-Students mime whole expressions, such as 'close the door', 'pick up the paper', etc.
-Students mime verbs and adverbs put randomly together. Please see this activity for a fuller description.
-Students mime unusual uses for a particular household object. Please see this activity for a fuller description.
-Students mime a situation (e.g. someone is trying to find their keys).
-Students mime idioms or proverbs (e.g. a piece of cake). This is particularly appropriate for higher levels.
-Students mime film or book names. They can use their fingers to indicate the number of words and which word they are miming.