the kindergarten way

how kindergarten imitates life

Barrier Games for Oral Language Practice


Sailing in a Dream

I’m always looking for ways to incorporate fun and authentic oral language practice which is key for all K’s especially for my English Language Learners (ELLs). But, while there are many ways to engage children in speaking, it is much more difficult to find activities that allow children to practice listening. What I love about barrier games, is that they incorporate both listening and speaking with the option of adding vocabulary lessons to scaffold and expand language.

Barrier games involve a barrier, like a folder standing on it’s edge or a book, placed between two people. Each person has a “board game” or storyboard (e.g., a Halloween scene like a fence, tree and moon) and the same “board game pieces” or characters (e.g., 2 pumpkin shapes, a witch shape and a ghost). One person “makes a story” by placing their pieces on their characters on their storyboard and describing the…

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