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The Counting Game‏‎ for TEFL

NumbersThe Counting Game is a simple but effective counting game ideal for young beginner level students in your TEFL classroom so they can practice numbers‏‎.

It also helps keep a class quiet for a few minutes which is a nice side-effect!

Running the Game

Have the class stand in a circle. Tell them they must count out loud from 1 to 10 (or any other number you decide). However, there are rules.

  1. anyone can say a number; there’s no order to who speaks but…
  2. no one can say two consecutive numbers.
  3. only one person can say a number at a time; if two people talk over each other then the count is reset to 1 and they start again.

The game is surprisingly effective once the students get the hang of it.

Of course sometimes students are a little shy to begin with so you need to encourage them and to begin with you may well find that only the more confident (and louder) will participate but then you can start by adding a few more rules (see below) so that everyone has a chance to join in.

Variations on a Theme

If you find the shyer students are remaining silent, you can divide the class into small groups and have them do it amongst their classmates which is less intimidating. 

As the class become familiar with it, you can also bring in new rules to make it harder.

  • no one can say a number if they are standing next to the person who said the last number
  • numbers must be said clockwise or counterclockwise
  • counting must alternate between boys and girls
  • add a beanbag to the activity; someone says a number and then tosses the bag to another student who must continue the sequence
  • each person in the group must say at least 1 (or more) number
  • counting is by even or odd numbers

The same principle can also be used for other lists of words. For example, it can be used for the alphabet or for colors, places, etc.

Image © Stewf

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