SOS Game: Review Just about Anything
I like to play the SOS game as a way to review whatever we studied in the previous class. I use it as a quick warm-up at the beginning of a class. It’s fun, interesting, and fast moving, so it’s the perfect way to begin your English class.
For example, maybe the grammar point is countable/uncountable nouns and all the technical details surrounding it. It can get quite complicated, so it’s something I’d for sure want to review before moving on with new material. This SOS game is a great way to do that!
Did you Play the SOS Game as a Kid?
I’m sure you know the game S-O-S from when you were a kid. You get a point if you get the sequence S-O-S in a row. I’ve adapted this game to use as an ESL speaking game, with a bit of a twist.
How to Set up SOS
Draw a grid on the board, maybe 6×6. Give the grid numbers and letters to make it easier for the students to pick what box they want.
Then, divide the students up into teams of 4 or 5 and give them each a symbol (triangle, square, star, heart, etc).
Then, ask review questions, going from team to team. Simple, easy questions with a definite right or wrong answer are best to keep this game moving quickly.
Give teams a time limit to come up with the right answer or it can get boring because there is too much time in between team turns. I will usually give them 10 seconds, and count down quietly using my voice, as well the fingers on my hands.
A correct answer gets that team a square on the board, which will you mark with their symbol (triangle for example). You can do 6 or 7 rounds, and by this time the good teams will have 2 or 3 points. The top team gets a prize of some kind.
For the real SOS game, if you get a point, you take another turn. I don’t use this rule, and each team gets only one turn for each round.
How Long to Play the SOS Game?
As a final note: this game gets boring after 20 minutes or so, so don’t plan on playing this for an entire class. I keep things moving quickly and the game is most often over in about 8-10 minutes. It works best as a warm-up review kind of game for the start of class.
You can also teach the students how to play themselves and get them going on it in small groups of 3-5. You can give them a list of review questions to ask each other.
If there’s any dispute about a right or wrong answer, let students know that you’ll serve at the judge.
SOS Game: Example Questions
These questions for the SOS Game are from the textbook, Top Notch 1, Unit 5.
What’s his name?
What’s her occupation?
How old is he?
How old are they?
What’s their occupation?
What’s your nationality?
A job where you know lots of languages
Job where you use the computer to design things
A job where you use a camera
You work in a restaurant
Selling something job
You give people snacks and drinks on an airplane
Flying an airplane job
You are very good at drawing
Look at Page 21 in your textbook. Direction questions (teacher makes on the spot, 1 for each team in the round).
Sister’s daughter to me
My father’s sister’s children
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SOS Game: Have your Say!
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