Happy Labor Day!

Language Games and Activities for Labor Day

Old as charades may be, it's a great way to review occupations. Print and cut a set of occupation cards, removing any that will be unfamliar to students. Call on one student to draw a card and act out the occupation listed. Ask the rest of the class to try to guess the occupation. The student who guesses correctly gets to draw and act out the next card.

For increased competition, divide students into two teams. Select a player from one team to draw a card. The player may spend up to twenty seconds acting out the word. If his or her team guesses the occupation, the team receives a point. If they do not guess the occupation, the opposing team may make one guess to try to "steal" the point. If neither team guesses correctly, no points are given.

Alternate play between teams, and call on team members to act in the order they are seated.

From A to Z
Resurrect a classic chain game to test vocabulary and memory skills. The first player must choose an occupation that starts with the letter Aa ("I want to be an astronaut."); the second player repeats the first player's occupation and adds on of his/her own ("S/he wants to be an astronaut, and I want to be a banker.") As players forget occupations or fail to come up with one of their own, they are eliminated. The last player in the game wins.

To take play to a more advanced level, simply increase complexity of statments (for instance, name and occupation -- "My name is Amy and I want to be an astronaut/" -- or name, occupation, and location -- "My name is Amy. I want to be an astronaut and work in Athens.").

Imagine That!
Imagine a day that nobody worked. The hospitals would be closed, because no one would be working. The stores would be closed, because no one would be working. Phones might be out of order, because no one would be working, and so forth.

Write a story about a day that nobody worked. After you finish your story, write a paragraph telling how you would feel about a day that nobody worked.

Occupation Taboo
Printable Taboo Cards
Print the card file linked above or make your own cards. At the top of each card is an occupation. Below are four related words.

The object of the game is for one person who holds the cards to aid his or her team mates in guessing the word at the top of the card by giving verbal clues. However, verbal clues cannot include any of the words listed below the top word, nor any form of those words. (For instance, if students was listed among the "taboo" words, student would also be off limits.)

To play, divide students into two teams. Teams alternate turns. One person from the first team draws a card. He or she gives clues to the occupation at the top of the card until his or her team guesses the correct occupation. He or she then draws the next card and repeats the process. Play continues for thirty seconds. The team earns one point for each occupation it guesses correctly during the thirty seconds.

After thirty seconds, play switches to the other team. Continue to play until each player has had the opportunity to give clues.

If the student giving the clues does not know the meaning of the occupation, or if the team cannot guess the word, the card may be skipped. However, one point is lost for each skipped card.  (You may wish to limit possible subtractions to the number of points a player has earned for his or her team during a single play. Thus, a student who helped the team guess one card with four skips would not lose three points that someone else had earned. Instead, the player would simply score zero points for that play.)

Variation: To add additional language usage to the game, show the students only two or three sample cards, then distribute blank index cards and have them create their own decks. Occupations may be assigned or selected by students.

What Do I Do?
Collect large pictures of people engaged in various occupations. Paste each picture onto an A4 or 8 1/2" x 11" piece of tagboard and laminate. Hold up pictures one at a time. Call on students to name the occupation and to describe what the person is doing.

For more advanced students, write occupations on sentence strips. Hold up the name of an occupation, and call on students to describe the occupation, explain why it is necessray, and tell what kind of person is best suited to the job.

What's It Like?
Collect small pictures of people engaged in various occupations. (If pictures are not available, you may write occupations on cards instead.) The more unusual the occupation, the better.

Ask each student to draw a card. After looking at the picture on the card, students should imagine that they are working in the occupation shown. Ask students to write two or three paragraphs telling what the job is like. Students should explain what they do (without naming their occupations), tell what they like and dislike, and describe any sights, sounds, or smells.

When students are finished, collect papers and read each one aloud to class. Let other students try to guess what each student's occupation is.

"When I Grow Up"
Ask students to draw pictures of themselves doing what they want to do when they grow up. If students' English is very limited, write the name of the occupation pictured on the page in English. If students' writing skills are more developed, ask them to write a sentence about the picture or a paragraph explaining why they are interested in that career.

Let each student present his or her drawing to the class. (The presentations of students who are just beginning to learn English may be as simple as, "When I grow up, I want to be a/an ________.")

Post all pictures on a wall of the classroom to form an career goals "quilt." Invite the school administrator, parents, and/or other classes to come look at students' work.

Who Am I?
Print and cut a set of occupation cards, removing any that will be unfamliar to students. Call one student at a time to draw a card and assume that occupation. Classmates must then ask questions in an effort to guess the cardholder's occupation.

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