BP Grammar Games in ELT - Masaryk University

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MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO FACULTY OF EDUCATION English Language and Literature Department

Bachelor Thesis

Brno 2010

Bc. Lenka Musilová

MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO FACULTY OF EDUCATION English Language and Literature Department

Grammar Games in ELT Bachelor Thesis

Brno 2010

Supervisor: PhDr. Alena Kašpárková

Author: Bc. Lenka Musilová


Prohlášení: „Prohlašuji, že jsem bakalářskou práci vypracovala samostatně, s využitím pouze citovaných literárních pramenů, dalších informací a zdrojů v souladu s Disciplinárním řádem pro studenty Pedagogické fakulty Masarykovy univerzity a se zákonem


121/2000 Sb., o právu autorském, o právech souvisejících s právem autorským a o změně některých zákonů (autorský zákon), ve znění pozdějších předpisů.“

Souhlasím, aby práce byla uložena na Masarykově univerzitě v Brně v knihovně Pedagogické fakulty a zpřístupněna ke studijním účelům.

Declaration: I declare that I worked on this bachelor work on my own and used only the resources mentioned in the bibliography. I agree with storing this work in the library of the Faculty of Education at the Masaryk University Brno and making it accessible for study purposes.

Brno 20. dubna 2010

Bc. Lenka Musilová


Acknowledgments: I would like to express my thanks especially to my supervisor, PhDr. Alena Kašpárková, for her interesting and inspiring ideas, valuable advice and worthy guidance during my work on my thesis.


Bc. Lenka Musilová

TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction…….....………………………………………………………..……. 6 1. Teaching Grammar to Young Pupils…………………………………...… 8 1.1 Teachers ..........................................……………………………………….. 8 1.2 Children...................................... ………………………………………….11 1.3 Motivation…………………………………………………........................ 13 1.4 Teaching Grammar.........................................................................................14 1.5 Teaching Grammar in Different Teaching Methods......................................14

2. A Game.................................................................................................................15 2.1 Teaching Grammar through Games.................................................................16 2.2 Grammar Games in the Classroom..................................................................17 2.2.1 Types of Games......................................................................................17 2.2.2 Most Common Grammar Games............................................................18

3. English Grammar versus Czech Grammar....................................................21 3.1 English x Czech in the 5th Grade........................................................................22

4. Introduction into Practical Part.........................................................................24 5. The Lost Treasure................................................................................................25 5.1 The Lost Treasure – Parts...................................................................................26 Part 1..................................................................................................................26 Part 2..................................................................................................................27 Part 3...................................................................................................................29 Part 4...................................................................................................................30 Part 5...................................................................................................................32 4.2 Feedback.............................................................................................................34

6. Conclusion...............................................................................................................37 7. Resume.....................................................................................................................38 8. List of References..................................................................................................39 9. Appendix..................................................................................................................41

INTRODUCTION I was said that teaching is not a work but it is a mission. I always dreamt as a child that I would like to be a teacher in my future carreer but life tried to push me in another way and I became a teacher actually by an accident. But thanks to this I am really happy to be a teacher, to try to fulfil my mission in education. Teaching is a definetely hard job and to be satisfied and successful needs actually much more effort, practice and experience than hardly one could believe. Nowadays everything changes very quickly, pupils are not as they used to be, teachers use modern methods and approaches and they can use various equipement to make the education process modern, pleasant and as close to the pupils as possible. Teachers try to captivate and involve pupils into the learning process in the most interesting way. If pupils are interested in the subject, they feel comfortable and learn more easily.

I devote the bachelor thesis to not very popular part of language learning and it is grammar. I remember my school years when our teacher was standing in front of the blackboard, leading a long speech about some grammar rules, then made a long script on the blackboard and finally, we were expected to translate all twenty sentences from the Czech language into English for the rest of the lesson. All pupils hated grammar lessons and I promised to myself that as a teacher I would do it in another way. This was my reason for choosing Grammar Games in ELT with a view to grammar teaching as a topic for my bachelor thesis. Firstly, I tried to explain the main parts of education process in general. I explained the personality of a teacher and her role in education, next chapter is about children and their psychological developement. Motivation of pupils is the next step of my thesis. Finally, I concentrated on grammar teaching – the use of traditional methods and on the contrary the use of a game. I tried to explain how games are used in teaching, what is necessary and how to be prepared for this approach. I do not consider traditional methods as the worst ones, what is more I find them very useful in some cases but I tried to show another way of teaching grammar and how to enrich grammar teaching. As the next part, I compared plans of teaching Czech and English language of some elementary schools in the 5th grade to point out some misunderstandings between these two languages in teaching grammar. The aim of this comparison was to make an image of how elementary schools can differ in their contents. As the practical part I concentrated on the fifth grade of an elementary school and I prepared lesson plans for a grammar game called The Lost Treasure whose author I am .


For explanation, I would like to mention some important points. For avoiding the repetition I used for the word teacher personal pronoun she and for a pupil or pupils he or they. Next important point is that in the game The Lost Treasure I did not use the sources for the pictures because the worksheets are full of them and the sources would disturb the structure. Sources to the pictures are given at the end of my thesis in the List of References.


1. Teaching Grammar to Young Pupils Teaching foreign languages is compulsory from the third grade at a primary school in the Czech Republic. Most schools offer learning foreign languages even from the first grade. The advantage of an early start is that young children are really enthousiastic about learning new things – especially languages. On the other hand, we can hardly talk about teaching grammar. Pupils start to learn grammar rules first about the age of ten.

And how do they learn it? Ur and Scrivener dealt with the process of learning. Ur divided the process into three stages – verbalization, automatization and as the last stage autonomy. Firstly, verbalization – teacher should explain the grammatical structure and use it in context, as well. Secondly, pupils use the grammatical structure again and again and they automatize the correct form. Lastly, they start to use the structure on their own, in new sentences, combinations, they are autonomous (1996, p. 19 - 20). On the contrary, Scrivener says that learning includes five stages – do, recall, reflect, conclude and prepare. As the first thing pupils should do something, after this they should recall what they have done, the third step is reflecting, the next step they make any conclusion and lastly they use their conclusion. (2005, p. 20)

The process of learning may vary according to the approach of explaining. To simplify it, we talk about deductive and inductive approach of how grammar rules are given to pupils. In the deductive approach grammar rules are explained first and then they are used in sentences, situations. However, the inductive approach shows examples, situation, sentences first and then the rules are explained.

1.1 Teachers In educational process the role of the teacher is highly important. Many things depend on her. Who is actually a good teacher? It is really difficult to say. Is it in her personality? Or a good teacher is a person with great skills? Or should it be mixture of both and other aspects are involved? In Harmer´s opinion a good teacher is a mixture of personality, intelligence, knowledge and experience. (1998, p. 23) Personality of the teacher could be definetely inspiring for pupils. If the teacher is an interesting person and talks about interesting things,


she could easily pull pupils in the lesson who are not certainly persuaded about the importance of the subject. And what is more, if she is able to feel that it is the highest time for a change and for example for involving a game in the right time, her pupils will never be bored. It has much to do with the skills of the teacher. If she knows how to do it, how to captivate her pupils, it is a half of the success. Knowledge is vitally important. A teacher should be well-educated in her branch. Lastly, the experience has a great deal of complexity of a good teacher.

Additionally, Harmer adds the adaptability of teachers (1998, p. 24-25). To adapt to new oncoming situation that is not exactly according to the plan, should be part of the teacher´s skills. Teachers should react on unexpected situations and events immediately.

Further to this, a good rapport between a teacher and her pupils is evidentelly crucial. Making such rapport is a long-time procedure. The teacher must gain confidence by listening, respecting her pupils, she must show her personal approach. To be the authority, facilitator, leader and on the contrary a friend who can be at the same level for playing a game, to be a person to whom pupils can open their hearts.

To sum it up, there are three roles of teachers. As Scrivener explains, teachers may vary in their way of teaching and approach. •

The explainer – this role of a teacher is really a great specialist in her subject, her lessons may be definetely very interesting but her problem is a lack or bad methodology. The teacher tends to explain grammar rules without involving the pupil to the problem. Pupils only listen, make notes or answer the questions. In playing a game, she only explains the rules and then controls keeping them.

The involver – this role of a teacher is a good specialist and good methodologist, as well. She explains but at the same time she involves the pupils into the lesson. She makes the lesson interesting and changes the activities. For playing the games it is the best person who is able to prepare various kinds of games and to play the games with her pupils.

The enabler – this role of a teacher could be taken as a guide of the lesson, pupils have automatized the learning methods and they do it themselves. The teacher is here


only as a source of information. In grammar she gives the problem to her pupils and tries to make them to solve it.

As Scrivener adds, many teachers assume all three roles or some of them can be mostly explainers or involvers. (2005, p. 7) For young pupils it is worth changing the roles, to be able to explain the grammar rules, to involve pupils in the lesson as much as possible and also to give them some space to work on their own.

Pupils should believe their teacher and the teacher should believe her pupils. What is evident, a teacher should create a positive learning atmosphere to make her pupils feel comfortable, not stressing. Therefore she can easily involve the pupils in the activities and games, to make shy or worse pupils do any activity that she wants them to do. (2005, p. 21-22 ) She is supposed to:

be a specialist.

be honest.

be friendly.

be an authority.

be an advisor.

be inspiring.

have a good character. be a good organizator. be responsible.

Fig.1. Diagram of a good teacher inspired by Scrivener´s research among students. (2005, p. 23)


1.2 Children

How do the children learn? Can a six-year-old child learn the same thing as a ten-year or even a twelve-year-old child? The question is actually very simple. No, he cannot. It everything depends on the cognitive developement of the child. As Lin writes, a Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget (1896-1980), developed a theory about the psychologist developement of the child. He found out that the process of thinking was developing until the child started to think logically. When the teacher knows about it, she can easily prepare the lesson suitable for her pupils. Piaget divided this process into four stages: Sensorimotor Stage, Preoperational Stage, Concrete Operational Stage and Formal Operational Stage. The age when pupils start to learn grammar touches the last two ones. •

Concrete Operational Stage (7 – 11 Years) Children of this stage start to think logically. They need personal experience. Children solve the problem but only on concrete things and experience.

Formal Operational Stage (11 Years and Beyond). Lin says,

After roughly 11 years old, students have the ability to consider many possibilities for a given condition. They are able to deal with propositions that explain concrete facts. They have the ability to use planning to think ahead. Most importantly, students at Piaget’s final stage of cognitive development increase their ability to think abstractly. They can solve complex and hypothetical problems involving abstract operations. Formal operational thinkers can recognize and identify a problem. They can state several alternative hypotheses, execute procedures to collect information about the problems to be studied, and test the hypotheses. (2002)

According to Piaget´s theory it is evident that children are able to solve the abstract problems at the age of 11 and above. The ability of understanding the grammar rules has much to do with it. It is the best period to keep the rules in mind, to imagine how it works. For some grammar structures children really need abstract thinking because they do not have


the comparison to the Czech grammar e.g. present perfect tense, past perfect tense, future perfect tense. Here is the use of a game highly important.

On the contrary to the Piaget´s theory, Scott and Ytreberg divided children into two main groups – five to seven years olds and eight to ten years olds. •

Five to seven-year old children Scott writes about these children that they are enthousiastic about learning, especially learning by using games. They are not able to say what they are going to learn. However, this is the time where pupils meet with the language, they do not learn any grammatical structures, even if they know that there exist some rules but they are not able to understand them. Their concentration is not very strong. They really like playing. (1990, p. 2)

Eight to ten-year old children Scott says that these children are able to understand abstract things and symbols. He thinks that children are aware of the language in some way. They really love systems and routines. Playing games in groups are highly recommended. Children learn grammar effectively through activities that they find amusing and funny.(1990, p. 4-6)

In the second period, it is worthy for the teacher (as it was mentioned in the preceding chapter) to assume the role of explainer only when children are asking for an explanation or the teacher thinks it is necessary for them. The main role of a teacher should be the involver. Teachers should try to pull pupils in the lesson and to motivate them for learning grammar.

1.3 Motivation

Harmer says that people learn languages for different reasons, they want to travel, for business reasons, they want to understand English songs or they have some family members living abroad. These reasons are taken as extrinsic motivation, they are brought to the


classroom from outside. On the contrary, there is intrinsic motivation – it deals with what happens in the classroom – methods, approaches, activities.(1998, p. 20)

It is not difficult to motivate young children for any activity and there is no doubt that children do not need any motivation for a game. A game is motivating on its own. Motivation depends on the teacher, as well. Many things can be influenced by her. As Ur says, feeling of success is highly important for the motivation. On the other hand, being afraid of mistakes has much to do with motivation, too. Children are afraid of making mistakes and of being punished, so they try to avoid it. Motivation could be also reinforced by testing the pupils. And as the last point – competition. Especially group competition brings better results for the pupils. (1996, p. 276 – 279) . The best choice for higher motivation of pupils that the teacher could use is playing a game. As Petty says, games are able to involve children to the process of learning and they can make them to be really concentrated which is not possible in any different method. Thanks to the interest and motivation that are caused by using a game, they can gain a positive relation to the subject. As he says, learning and fun go together. (1996, p. 188)

1.4 Teaching Grammar

Grammar is, according to Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, “the set of rules that describe the structure of a language and control the way that sentences are formed“ (2002, p. 618). Some people could say that grammar is not very important, but they are wrong. As Scrivener says, it is of course definetely possible to speak without following any grammar rules only with the use of vocabulary. You can say – “I cinema see film yesterday“ – and the listener would probably understand that you were in the cinema yesterday to see a film, but your conversation would be at the level of a Neanderthal Man (2003, p.1). Moreover, learning grammar is really important to achieve the higher levels of the language.

On the other hand, the word grammar could be horrifying for students. It could be the hard nut to crack for the teacher to persuade pupils that learning grammar could be fun. However, it depends on the teacher how she solves this problem. She need not follow traditional methods in teaching grammar like setting the rules, filling the grammar exercises or testing, but she can use another amusing way – games.


1.5 Teaching Grammar in Different Teaching Methods

This chapter is going to give a short survey of teaching methods with the view of teaching grammar and its importance.

There is a long history of methods that were used by teaching. •

Grammar-Translation method – this method is widely used nowadays. The teacher does not use the target language very often. Pupils are supposed to read a lot and to translate the given texts. In grammar the grammar rules are properly explained, the teachers concentrate especially on sentence structure. It could be demotivating for pupils. This method is not very suitable for young learners.

The Audio-Lingual Method - this method is based mostly on listening and speaking. Students are supposed to repeat dialogues with no or little help of a teacher. Drill is widely used. In grammar pupils are supposed to listen and repeat the right grammatical structure to memorise it and to avoid mistakes. Elements of this method are suitable for children. They learn easily by repetition.

Communicative Language Teaching and Communicative Approach – this method tries to teach students as much as possible through communication. It does not concentrate on proper grammar, it prefers the use of the language rather than the correct form. This method could be used for young learners but not for the beginners, it needs some basic knowledge of the language.

Total Physical Respond – a method used for beginners. Teachers say instructions, pupils listen to them and do them. They are not force to speak until they want. The main thing is that there are no grammar rules as such . However, pupils try to do their best. It is more concentrated on comprehension than production. This method is highly suitable for children.

The Natural Approach – this method tries to teach the second language in a similar way as children learn their first language. The approach for the grammar is pretty much the same as in the TPR. Teachers focus mainly on the meaning, not on the correct form. This approach was developed by Krashen and Terrell and was often critised by many people, especially for the silent period. As in the TPR pupils are not forced to speak until they want so this method is also possible to use with young learners.


As a result that could be taken from these approaches, in my opinion it would be useful to get to the teaching some points from each method. Not to follow only one method strictly but make a mixture of all of these with adding a game into the process of teaching grammar.

2. A Game As Millar says, a game has definetely a long history. Platon reminded the need of a game in his work “The Laws“. He pointed out that the use of apples, even we do not consider this as a game, whilst children are counting is very helpful. Moreover, Aristoteles was persuaded that children should be encouraged to play games. A German pedagogue Fröbel emphasized the importance of a game in the process of learning. The first theory of a game originated in the second half of the 19th century. (1978, p. 13-14, trans. L.M.).

But could actually each game be taken as a “game“? How could be a game defined? The answer is definetely very easy. Klauer says that a game must be governed by some rules. If it is not, it is not a game. Playing of a child with a doll could not be taken as a game, it is only playing. However, when this child is playing with a doll and has specific aim – e.g. to dress the doll up according to exact rules, it is a game. Talking about language games, it is similar. Language game is a game with rules that have linguistic aims and they are agreed with the participants. (1998)

The aim of the game is winning, to be the first who achieves the finish. Every game is strictly limited by start and finish. All participants of the game must know the rules and aims of the game. Rules should be clear and easy for understanding. They need not to be long. Some language games need a supervisor. This person is mostly a teacher. The teacher follows the time if there is any time limit, checks the rules or notes the score.

2. 1 Teaching Grammar through Games

Games are definetely the most natural way of learning something. Playing is the most effective method for children. Through playing they meet with their environment, understand


many principles of how things work and it is easy for them to remember something which is connected with pleasure, fun or amusement. Vernon says,

The theory of intrinsic motivation may also give some insight as to


teaching grammar through games actually works. Intrinsic

motivation refers to the internal factors that encourage us to do something. Most young learners will not internally decide that they want to learn grammar. They don´t yet understand the concepts of why it´s important to know proper grammar, so these external factors won´t affect them much either. Instead, intrinsic motivation can encourage them to play games. If these games are good then they will be learning while they are playing. (Vernon, 2006)

Why is it worth using games in teaching? -

games are really very motivating, even for those who are ashamed or are afraid of making mistakes;


games help to involve pupils of each level;


Vernon says: “Pupils can learn to speak English 2x as fast when they are excited about learning.“ (2006)


games support using new grammar rules unviolently;


games teach pupils to cooperate;


pupils learn not only grammar but other four skills – speaking, writing, listening and reading;


games teach communication and fair-play.

2.2 Grammar Games in the Classroom

Before using games in the classroom teachers should consider several aspects. •

Preparation. Being well-prepared for the lesson is a half of success. Teachers should think of the activity they want to use. Is it good for their pupils? Does it cover the grammar level? Does it need any special materials, space? Does the activity need groupwork, pair or individual work? If it is groupwork, how large will the groups be? Does it need preparation in the classroom or any copies of the worksheets?


Organization. Before the activity, teachers should announce what pupils are expected to do. They should explain all rules carefully and ask pupils if they understand. Then they are supposed to change seating or make groups if it is neccessary. Whilst pupils are playing the game, it is better for teachers only watch or help if it is needed. It is good to finish the game at a fixed time.

Expectation. Being prepared for unexpected is really important.

At any time

something could go wrong. The activity could be difficult for children or they do not understand the rules, they have problems within the game, problems whilst making groups, problems in the group etc.

2.2.1 Types of Games

There exist various types of games: •

Cooperative games: these games are really important, their aim is cooperation among students. They are valuable when teachers have got new groups of students or they want to involve weak or shy students in the group.

Communication games: they are concentrated on exchanging of information. Students get an information and they must react on it. It is usually pairwork but it could be also groupwork. These types of games are good for the topic which the teacher is going through with her students.

Competitive games: the aim of this type of a game is to finish the game as soon as possible just before others. They are worth when a teacher wants to make any change, her students are tired, or it is just time for a game.

Code-control games: playing this game students must use language without mistakes, because they are controlled. By making mistakes they loose points.


2.2.2 Most Common Grammar Games

Noughts and crosses/tic-tac-toe This game can be used for each level, it depends only on a teacher. The class is divided into two groups. One group has noughts and the second has crosses. A teacher prepares a large table on the board and writes words intent on various grammar (adjectives, irregular verbs, ....) in the fields. Pupils must say opposites, comparatives or superlatives, past forms.....The team is expected to make a line of three or five crosses or noughts.


























Tab.1. Game Tic-tac-toe

Advantage : very variable, you can use it for different grammar

Disadvantage : it needs some time to prepare it on the board, the game could be a bit chaotic when you have got a large group of pupils. This game would be suitable for smaller groups of pupils.

Dominoes It is a very old game, it was probably invented in China in the 12th century. It consists of plastic, wooden or paper blocks which are divided in two halfs. On each part there is anything different written or drawn. Before the game you must first turn dominoes face down and mix them. The players choose the blocks (mostly about five), they must not show them to anyone. One player begins with putting one block on the table, then other continues with putting another block with the same picture next to the first one. If he has not got an acceptable block, 18

he must take another block from the pile and another player continues in playing. The winner is the player who has not got any block. You can practise various kinds of grammar – irregular verbs, adjectives, pronouns etc.

Fig. 2. Picture of dominoes

She is

He is

Advantage : variability, it can be played in pairs or in groups of more pupils, children know the rules, so you need not explain the game for a very long time. You do not need large space for playing, one table is enough, you do not need any proprieties for playing except the domino.

Disadvantage : -------------

Board games Board games are really very popular with pupils. They are very variable and teachers can practise any grammar they want. Board games are made for pairwork or groupwork. Everything you need are some figures, a dice, a board and sometimes paper and a pencil. The game has Start and Finish. A pupil is supposed to throw the dice and according to the number he goes through the game. The field where he stays has some task, which he must fill in. The winner is the pupil who reaches Finish as the first. (Appendix - Worksheet 1)

Advantage : variability, you can use it for paiwork or groupwork. You can use your own game or download some from the Internet.

Disadvantage : you must have enough copies for the whole group. It is difficult to check all the groups and to correct their mistakes.


Battleships It is a very known game including two players and two copies of a chart. Players draw their battleships into the chart and the game can begin. They use words or sentences written vertically and horizontally to hit the rival´s battleship. The winner is the first one who covers all ships.

Advantage: you can practise wherever you want and whatever grammar you want. It is not a difficult game for preparation. It is pairwork. Pupils memorise the grammatical structure very easily.

go shopping?

go out?

go swimming?

listen to the radio?

sing in the bathroom?

Disadvantage: you must prepare the chart for playing the game.

Do you Does your brother Do they Does John Does Jane Tab. 2 Battleships


3. English Grammar versus Czech Grammar Talking about teaching English grammar at primary schools, one should mention if pupils are able to understand what they are expected to learn. If pupils are educated enough to learn grammar of a target language. Many teachers claim about pupils that they do not understand the new grammar because they do not know what it means in the Czech language. It is mainly a problem of the 5th grade where pupils meet with new English grammar rules for the first time. According to Scott and Ytreberg, it could be or not worth comparing it with the mother tongue. (1990, p.7) In my opinion, the comparison with the Czech language could be sometimes helpful and useful for pupils, they can imagine it more easily.

Even though English language is taught from the 3rd grade at most schools, in the first two years one can hardly talk about grammar. Pupils meet with the language and the grammar as well. As Scott and Ytreberg say, pupils are not able to learn the same things at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of their studies. Children develop. At the beginning teachers teach audiovisual courses, play games, sing songs or learn rhymes because they know that children are not able to absorb more. If they are successful in the language or not does not depend on grammar rules. Moreover, they are not able to cope with the grammar even in the 5th grade, they can be only aware of it in some way. (1990, p. 1- 6). In the 5th grade teachers start to explain grammar rules. In the next years pupils have already the general overview of the Czech grammar, so the problem with the English grammar is not so serious and it depends on the individual pupil and his ability of understanding. As an example - teachers try to explain personal pronouns but pupils do not exactly know what personal pronouns are. They do not know it, because in the Czech language they do not use it or they did not meet with it before. Especially with the new system of School Education Programme, where each school makes its plans, it is difficult to have the same system in teaching grammar. To unite the system, where it is obvious where what grammar is taught, is now impossible.


3.1 English x Czech in the 5th Grade

To show an example of the differences, I tried to compare and contrast contents of subject matters of two primary schools. Their contents are a little bit different and I focused on teaching English grammar in comparison to the Czech language..

ZŠ profesora Švejcara:

ZŠ Mšeno:


articles (a, an, the, the)


Present Simple (question, negative)




Present Continuous (question, negative)


verbs – can, to be, to have


verb to be, to have got (?, answers, -)




verb can, must






question How many? How much?




Present Continuous + question


Past tense


Future tense


word order



I find the grammar taught at primary school profesora Švejcara too complicated for pupils. In comparison to the Czech language, they start to learn adjectives, pronouns, numerals and verbs in the sixth grade. I find it difficult for English teachers to explain this grammar without any support of the Czech grammar. As for me Past Tense and Future Tense in the 5th grade is too much. I wonder if the pupils really understand and are able to learn it. My experience is that my pupils were able to cope only with the Present Simple and Present Continuous and with many problems. We devoted the whole school year to this grammar. I cannot imagine to give them another tense except the present.


Primary school Mšeno has no problem in English versus Czech language. There aims are not too high and I think they are equivalent to the age of pupils and they have the support in the Czech grammar.

According to my experience, it is not necessary to teach terminology. If pupils are not familiar with the terminology, do not use it. The teacher should try to set the grammar rules without using it, the pupils will be less confused, it is possible to start to teach it later. I think that it is not necessary to set the terminology in the 5th grade, they are not able to absorb it or to understand it.


4. Introduction into Practical Part I consider the topic of my thesis very important because I think that English should be fun for me as a teacher and at the same time fun for my pupils. I find grammar games very helpful and inspiring for me as a teacher and I suppose that my colleagues and pupils would agree. To have the feeling of satisfaction in a job is really important thing for everybody, especially when talking about teachers.

I tried to think about my job, my pupils, materials that I use for teaching. I find my pupils from time to time bored with the same topics in textbooks, same readings, same grammar exercises. I spent a really long time at a computer to look for additional materials - handouts, worksheets and various games. I must admit that I found many really useful and interesting materials and webpages but I wanted something more. I decided to prepare my own materials that I could use in my teaching. As a result, I wrote a language game called “The Lost Treasuret“ that was given to my colleagues for using it in their lessons. This game will be presented in practical part of my thesis together with some additional analysis and comments.


5. The Lost Treasure Whilst teaching English at primary school, I always have to find many materials that I can add to a textbook - many exercises, worksheets and games where my pupils can practise the grammar more properly. I also miss handouts where the basic grammar is explained easily for young pupils because they need to have something in their hands to what they can always return and look at them. Therefore I prepared this “grammar game“ for them. It is a supplement for the textbook for the 5th grade pupils. I compiled five chapters where I tried to set a summary of grammar rules of different grammar, some exercises devoted to the topic and at the same time to extend vocabulary.

And why is it called a game? This work is opened with a story of the lost treasure that is hidden somewhere in England and pupils are supposed to find the treasure by getting the notes for filling the exercises. So they are excited till the end where the lost treasure is hidden. Finding out the treasure, they get a present. Pupils consider the grammar an adventure that is actually amusing and fun for them. To get the note from the teacher, they absolutely forget that they are working on a grammar exercise and they try to do their best to make it without mistakes. What is more, I added many pictures to the game. Pupils in the 5th grade really like it and they are still young and they love colouring. In the end they have simple summary of the grammar, some exercises where they can practise it and nice colourful picture dictionary as a bonus.

What is an advantage as well? It is very variable, you can change the chapters and you can add different materials. I suppose that teachers could use this grammar game within the whole school year or it is of course possible to set it at the end of the school year as the revision. You can extend it according to your needs. Pupils can add the material into their portfolios.


5. 1 The Lost Treasure – Parts The following parts show only one of the examples of possible work with the game. This game was prepared for the 5th grade pupils of English and it was assumed that the grammar has already been explained and these worksheets are only for practising the grammar.

Some techniques are similar but the usage of materials is different (to make the work with the pupils more easily and to avoid long explanation). Handouts and worksheets are in the appendix. The notes leading to the lost treasure are in the key.

Part 1 The first chapter should be only motivating, therefore it does not deal with grammar. Level: A1

No. of pupils: 16

Topic Work : History of the Lost Treasure Aims : to introduce the story, to motivate the pupils, to learn new vocabulary Materials: handout and worksheet Time: 45 min. 1. Teacher tries to motivate the pupils by telling a story of the lost treasure which is hidden somewhere in Britain. (I recommend to retell the story in a simply way.) 2. She gives the handouts with the story to everybody. She explains that they will play a game. Their task is to find the lost treasure by solving the grammatical exercises. She should highlight that the pupils will be given a note for solving the exercises correctly and that they will work independently. The winner will be the first one who will find the treasure. 3. Pupils read the story quickly and they try to find out the meaning of some unknown words. 4. Teacher explains the words (pictures, gestures, miming). 5. Teacher distributes the first worksheet with exercises, explains them: -

Word Search – pupils should find all eleven words occuring in the story of the lost treasure.



Find the way – pupils must find the way to the lost treasure.


Crossword puzzle – pupils fill in the words suitable for the pictures and their aim is to find the hidden word

6. Pupils give the worksheets back to the teacher. 7. Teacher asks the pupils to evaluate themselves - how successful they were in the lesson.

Comments: The teacher collects the worksheets after the lesson and corrects them. She can prepare small pieces of papers with the first note. If the worksheet is correct, she can stick the note to it. Pupils are supposed not to say it to anybody. The first worksheet is only motivating, it is really easy to do it without any mistakes. I suppose that they will be successful. After the first note “London“, the teacher could ask pupils what they know about it or bring some pictures, play a video or whatever is connected with this city. (of course only in the case that every pupil has got the note).

The note: LONDON Part 2 Level: A1

no. of pupils: 16

Topic Work : Articles – definite, indefinite Aims : to practise the articles in using Materials: handout and worksheet, cards with A/An for each pupil Time: 45 min. 1. Motivation – the teacher explains that the treasure hunt continues and the pupils need another note that could take them to the lost treasure. 2. Teacher shows cards with the /a/, /an/ articles and asks pupils if they know it and where it is used. 3. Pupils answer (they should be familiar with it, if not they can see the handout with the explanation).


4. Teacher gives the pupils cards with the articles and sticks pictures that are added to this chapter (pictures of the animals – see Picture Dictionary added to this chapter) on the board. 5. A Game – a teacher divides the class into two groups. Then she calls the animals and one pupil of each group is supposed to run to the board as quickly as possible to stick the correct article next to the right vocabulary. The first pupil is awarded one point. (It is a little bit chaotic and dangerous, you need a large space for playing this game but pupils love it. This is TPR activity really suitable for young learners.) The winner is the group with more points. 6. Teacher gives pupils the worksheets with the exercises. Explains them: -

Write a or an – pupils should fill the correct article under the pictures.


Fill in the article and write the sentence – pupils must recognise the word (animal and the colour), fill in the correct article according to its use (the first sentence – indefinite article and the second sentence – definite article). Finally, they must write the whole sentence.


What´s this? – pupils are expected to write the vocabulary with the correct article. 8. Pupils gives the worksheets back to the teacher. 9. Evaluation – pupils try to say how successful they were, what did they like or not.

The teacher collects the worksheets after the lesson and corrects them. She prepares the notes. I recommend to revise the colours before the lesson. In this worksheet the pupils may make some mistakes, so they can be given some limit (1 or 2 mistakes are possible, it is up to the teacher). It is important to give the note only to the correct worksheets. It is also necessary to tell the pupils to keep their notes in the secret. It is a treasure hunt. The winner is the first person who finds out where the treasure is.



Fig. 3. Cards with indefinite articles


An Part 3

Level: A1

No. of pupils: 16

Topic Work : Plural Aims : to practise plural – irregular and regular nouns, numbers Materials: handout and worksheet, pictures and 4 papers with two columns, glue Time: 45 min. 1. Motivation – teacher tries to motivate pupils by reminding them that they are getting nearer and nearer to the treasure and that they will gain the next note at the end of the lesson. 2. Plurals – teacher gives the pupils the handout with the summary of plurals and repeats the rules quickly (pupils should cope with it but according to my experience it is really worthy to go through it again). 3. A game – the teacher sets 4 groups, each group takes one paper with two columns(regular, irregular), glue and a set of the pictures (the pictures are taken from the picture dictionary added to this chapter). In the group of pupils they are supposed to divide the pictures according to their plural forms in the correct column, stick the picture and write the plural form next to it. The first group with the correct division is the winner. 4. Teacher gives them the worksheets with the exercises and explains them: -

Count and write: pupils should write the number

and the correct plural form

connected with the picture.



Make plural and write: very similar exercises but with another pictures (they revise the plural forms and number 1-10).

5. Pupils give the worksheet back to the teacher. 6. Evaluation – pupils try to discuss the lesson, if they are familiar with plural forms or not, if they think that they were correct in their worksheets.

The teacher collects the worksheets after the lesson and corrects them. She prepares the notes. It is worthy to repeat the numbers with your pupils before the lesson as for the homework or in the lesson otherwise they might be lost. They are supposed to know the numbers but they learnt it in the 3rd or 4th grade.

The note : 1078 a.d.

Part 4

Level: A1

No. of pupils: 16

Topic Work : verb to be, to have got Aims : to practise these two verbs, to make a distinction between them, to fix the correct forms Materials: handout and worksheet, a Battleship game Time: 45 min. 1. Motivation for the lesson. 2. Teacher repeats the grammar by using a Battleship game. She prepares 2 simple charts. Pupils draw three crosses in the chart (ships) and by completing the whole sentence they try to disclose partner´s ships as the first one.


a dancer/ dancers.

a painter/ painters.

a doctor/ doctors.

a sailor/ sailors.

a fireman/firemen. I am You are He is We are They are

a palet.

a pencil.

a pen.

a book.

a bag.

Tab. 3 Battleships – verb to be

I have got You have got He has got We have got They have got Tab. 4 Battleships – to have got

3. Teacher gives the pupils worksheets with exercises and explains them: -

Complete the sentence : pupils should fill the correct personal pronoun to complete the sentence.


Correct the wrong verb: pupils must find the mistake and correct it.


Fill in to be or to have got in the correct form : pupils should understand the meaning of the sentence and according to its meaning write the correct verb.


Write a sentence: they should complete grammatically correct sentence beginning with the certain personal pronoun. 31

4. Pupils give the worksheets back to the teacher. 5. Evaluation

The teacher collects the worksheets after the lesson and corrects them. She prepares the notes. Here you can make a comment that the verbs are only in the affirmative and full forms. This could be taken only as an example and of course I suppose to extend it later. I set an exercise with the correction of the wrong form, someone could admit that it could be mystifying and pupils could fix the incorrect form. On the other hand, I think that they could be aware of the mistake.

Note: Thames

Part 5 Level: A1

No. of pupils: 16

Topic Work : possessive adjectives Aims : to practise the possessive adjectives Materials: handout and worksheet, dice with personal pronouns, dice with the pictures form picture dictionary, small stripes with possessive adjectives. Time: 45 min. 1. Motivation – the teacher should remind the pupils that this the last lesson where they could gain the last hint for the treasure. 2. The possessives – the teacher gives the pupils the handout with possessive adjectives. She goes through it with the pupils. 3. A game – pupils are in the groups of four, they have two dice and a set of stripes with possesive adjectives. They must dice and choose one of the possessives and form a grammatically acceptable sentence (e.g. HE + picture of a cup = It is his cup).They get a point for a correct sentence.


Fig. 4. Dice and paper stripes for a game. (pictures: http://www.bestofkids.net/Coloriage-VieQuotidienne.shtml.)

She MY








4. Teacher gives pupils the worksheets with the exercises and explains them: -

Write his, her, their or my… : pupils are supposed to read the sentences and write the correct possessive adjective suitable for the picture.


Write what they have got in the basket : pupils should form the grammaticaly correct sentences.

5. Pupils give the worksheets back to the teacher. 6. Evaluation

The teacher collects the worksheets after the lesson and corrects them. She prepares the notes. This is the last note for finding the treasure. The teacher should appeal to the pupils to put their notes together and to start to think about the lost treasure at home. They can use Internet, books, encyclopedias. They are supposed to write the place on a small piece of paper. (Of course if they know it).

Note: ZOO


The next lesson the teacher asks pupils if they know the place where the lost treasure is hidden and asks them to give her the papers. Being correct, pupils get a present (it could be some chocolate, a pen, or whatever else you want). For the rest of the classroom she gives them the picture of the place where the treasure is hidden. If they know it, they could write it on the paper again and give it to the teacher. If they are correct, they will get another present. And for those who were not able to find out the place, you can give a really small present.

Finally, you can make a presentation of the Tower of London, to show all notes and their connection with the Tower of London.

5.2 Feedback I asked my colleagues Mgr. Petra Konečná and Mgr. Ivana Holčapková (both are the English teachers at primary school ZŠ Třebíč, Horka-Domky) to try this game in their lessons. They teach in the 5th grade and with a great enthousiasm they promised me to do it. I did not tell them how to use it, I only wanted them to grasp it on their own. Suprisingly, they tried it as a group competition. They conceived it as a grammar revision with the intent on grammar exercises.

Here is their feedback:

Class: 5. A, 5. C

No. of pupils: 16 + 17

Level: A1 Topic Work: The Lost Treasure Time: 3 x 45 min. Aim: Revision of grammar

The author of this bachelor thesis asked us to use this language game “The Lost Treasure“ in the English lesson of the 5th grade. We chose a form of groupwork, each group had 4-5 members.


First of all pupils were impressed by the introductory motivating story. However, the text was too complicated for them and it was neccessary to translate certain parts of the text. Then the treasure hunt could start.

The first worksheet was really easy for them. They were really excited with the second exercise. The groups competed among themselves who would find the way to the treasure as the first one.

From the second chapter, each worksheet was introduced by the short explanation of the grammar. Pupils gained a general information of the grammar being practised in the following exercises.

A part with filling the articles was very popular with pupils, mainly thanks to the nice pictures of animals. This task was quite easy from our point of view.

According to our expectations, a handout with a practising of plurals showed us that regular nouns were easy but there were some difficulties with the irregular nouns and some pupils were making mistakes.

The exercises orientated on practising the verb to be and to have got demonstrated that understanding of the sentence structure is more complicated and not everybody was really familiar with it. However, they were successful because in each group there was somebody leading the group and they eventually solved it.

The final chapter with possessive adjectives seemed to be the easiest one but our experience was different. Our pupils had problems with this grammar and theywere reflected in solving the last worksheet.

The final task was to find the lost treasure according to the notes the groups gained through the game. With regard that not all the groups were absolutely successful in solving the worksheets, the number of the notes leading to the treasure was different. To cover the place with the treasure would not be successful without the preceding knowledge about London´s sights. Thanks to the use of the complex set of textbooks “New English for You“ that we use


in the 3rd and the 4th grade, where one chapter is devoted to the topic “London“, pupils had the knowledge that led successfully to the treasure.

To sum it up, we evaluate the game positively. It was a complex revision and practice of some grammar taught in the 5th grade. We also appreciate the extension of vocabulary. It perfectly connected subjects of English, Czech, Maths, Science and History. Naturally, it contributed to developement of all key competences of a pupil. Although it was piloted in the 5th grade where it is not taught according to the “School Education Porgramme“ yet, it reflects the cross-sectional themes, as well. Pupils found it interesting, they appreciated the quantity of pictures. According to their reaction, we can judge that they would be pleased with similar activity next time. We think that there was no pupil who would have left the classroom with the feeling of loss. Everybody had the opportunity of success.


6. Conclusion Teaching grammar to young learners is a really hard job. However, to show pupils that even learning grammar could be funny and interesting, should be one of the way to deal with the grammar teaching. As it has been demonstrated in my bachelor thesis, using various methods in teaching grammar can be more or less worthy and useful with young learners. On the other hand, as it has been stated

using games whilst teaching and explaining grammar rules or

structures, is definetely very effective and brings them amusement. I tried to point out that whilst playing a game, pupils feel released and relaxed, it helps them with their inhibitions. Learners are highly motivated and the level of stress is at the low level.

In the practical part I showed that teaching grammar through games is a successful and effective approach . A grammar game “The Lost Treasure“ was piloted with two groups of the fifth grade pupils. Both pupils and teachers were satisfied with the game and they would appreciate similar activites in their lessons of English.

I hope that involving games into English teaching will be really used in practice and I will meet with it at primary schools and at my colleagues more often. It is definetely a good way of making grammar more pleasant and accessible for young learners. Although the preparation for teaching grammar by this way is a little bit time-consuming and it needs much thinking and creative approach for the teacher, but it is definetely worthy because children do not consider grammar as the necessary evil.


7. Resume Závěrečná práce Grammar Games in ELT se zabývá výukou gramatiky se zaměřením na výuku pomocí her v hodinách anglického jazyka na základní škole. Jejím cílem je dosáhnout uceleného přehledu - srovnání method a přístupů k výuce gramatiky a zdůraznění vhodnosti zapojení her do výuky. První část mé práce se zabývá teorií výuky gramatiky a praktická část obsahuje jazykovou hru Ztracený poklad a plány hodin, ve kterých je názorně ukázáno, jak je možné s touto hrou pracovat.

Výuka gramatiky pomocí her je součástí moderního vyučování, kterou žáci velmi oceňují. Pomocí her se žáci snáze učí a získávají kladnější vztah k učení se jazykům. Nabývají nové znalosti a dovednosti. Učí se spolupráci a fair play. Přestože je tento přístup velmi efektivní, stále je dobré kombinovat ho i s jinými metodami.

The bachelor thesis “Grammar Games in ELT“ deals with the teaching grammar with the intent on using games in English lessons at primary school. Its aim is to reach the complete view – the comparison of methods and approaches to grammar teaching and to emphasize the suitability of using games in ELT. The first part of my thesis deals with the theory of teaching grammar and the practical part deals with the language game “The Lost Treasure“ and lesson plans where it is showed the possibility of how to work with this game.

Teaching grammar by using games is a part of modern teaching that pupils really appreciate. Pupils learn more easily and their relation to learning languages is more positive. They acquire new knowledge and skills. They learn cooperation and fair play. Even though this approach is very effective, it is still good to combine it with other methods.


8. List of References Books: Harmer, J. (1998). How to Teach English. Harlow: Longman. Harmer, J. (1991). Teaching and Learning Grammar. New York: Longman. Lindsay, C. Knight, P. (2006). Learning and Teaching English. A Course for Teachers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners: International Student Edition. (2002). Oxford: Macmillan Education. Millarová, S. (1968). Psychologie hry. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Petty, G. (1996). Moderní vyučování: praktická příručka. Praha: Portál. Scott, W. A. (1990). Teaching English to Children. New York: Longman. Scrivener, J. (2005). Learning Teaching. Oxford: Macmillan Education. Scrivener, J. (2003). Teaching Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sesnan, B. (1997). How to Teach English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Thornbury, S. (1999). How to Teach Grammar. Harlow: Longman. Ur, P. (1996). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Internet sources: Klauer, C. (1998). Teach English. Using Games in Language Teaching. Retrieved on 3 November 2009 from http://maxpages.com/teachenglish/Games_in_Language_Teaching Lin, S. (2002). Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Piaget's developmental stages. In B. Hoffman (Ed). Retrieved on 6 December 2009 from http://coe.sdsu.edu/eet/articles/piaget/start.htm ŠVP. ŠVP. Retrieved on 2 March 2010 from http://www.mrackova.cz ŠVP. ŠVP. Retrieved on 2 March 2010 from http://www.zsmseno.cz Teaching Grammar with Games in the ESL Classroom. Teaching English Games. Learning is Fun! Retrieved on 17 May 2009 from http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/Articles Vernon, S. A. (2006). Discover how your Pupils Can Learn to Speak English 2x as Fast when they´re excited about Learning....Using Hundreds of Fun English Games. Teaching English Games. Learning is Fun! Retrieved on 17 May 2009 from



Sources for the pictures: http://www.toolsforeducators.com/boardgames/ http://www.jecolorie.com/coloriages/animaux/index.php. http://www.bestofkids.net/Coloriage-Vie-Quotidienne.shtml. http://coloringpagesforkids.info http://www.coloriage-enfants.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_London.


9. Appendix 1. Worksheet 1 – A board Game 2. The Lost Treasure – Chapters 1-5