Vol. 5. No. 1 R-14 April 2001
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Classroom Games and Activities

Taiseer Kailani and Halima Al-Ansari (2000)
Reading, England: Garnet Publishing
Pp. 96
ISBN 1-85964-700-6 (paper)
UK £8.95

Taiseer Kailani and Halima Al-Ansari have developed Classroom Games and Activities as a well-conceived idea bank for communicative activities ranging from three to thirty minutes in length and geared to beginning, intermediate and advanced level speakers of English. Although not explicitly stated, the text seems to be targeted at young children. However, the ideas could easily be adapted for use in a wide variety of classrooms and courses. These student-centered activities help instructors create a stimulating context for practicing the four skills, as well as vocabulary and various points of grammar. The exercises are purely language oriented; culture of the English-speaking countries is not tackled. Although there are dozens of activity books for students of English as a second or foreign language already on the market today, Classroom Games and Activities is a welcome addition.

Besides the activities, a short suggested reading list, and a section at the end of the text for teacher's notes, the spiral-bound book also contains a content chart called a "map" for each of the three levels. These maps list the aim of each activity, type of language to be used, suggested group size, and approximate amount of time needed to complete each task or game. The authors have consciously kept the required resources and materials to a minimum, recognizing that most teachers do not have unlimited budgets or stockpiles of supplies. Another plus in Classroom Games and Activities is the clear step-by-step instructions. A few of the activities include drawings which may be photocopied for classroom use.

If there is a main weakness to the text, it is that the terms "beginning," "intermediate," and "advanced" were not defined. This, however, would presumably only be a problem for teachers in training or those new to the field. Although several of the activities are not at all new (e.g., shaking hands as part of practicing introductions, Simon says, and the memory game), I did find several innovative ideas that work well in my conversation class as warm-up activities or as back-up lesson plans should the class finish its work ahead of schedule. Notwithstanding these minor quibbles, this book would make a useful addition to any ESL/EFL teacher's library.

Sabrina Voelz
Universitaet Lueneburg, Germany

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