Age: 9 – 11
Location: Classroom/ iPad or iphone
Skills Focus: Speaking
Game: Clash of Clans
Once in a while a game will come along and sweep the playground with its popularity in playtime. One such game was and possibly still is Clash of Clans. Now, getting in on these games at grassroots level gives you a huge amount of kudos with your class and before you know it your learners are asking you how your village is doing, have you got a PEKKA and what level your mortars are. All possibly gobbledegook for the uninitiated but, like any game you begin to play, such terms you soon become au faux with (why not check the link above for more info). Even with the ones you are not, there is a certain degree of benefits for you to ask (in English) for an explanation or help from your learners and a certain pleasure for your learners to teach you a little bit (in English) about the game.
Clash of Clans
This game is described as “an epic combat strategy game” where you have to build a village and use the resources you mine or raid from other player’s villages to improve your defences, troops and buildings. While you are online you can train troops, set your builders to improve existing buildings or build walls and, if you are so inclined, rearrange your village into a completely new layout. The down side is the game can be a little time consuming while you are online. While you are offline you can also be attacked and resources stolen but the upside is that if you set things going while online (upgrading an archers tower, for instance) the work in progress continues while you are offline.
Chat of Clans
The way I’ve used this in class is generally at the beginning when learners were coming into class (from the playground). This time can be a little disorganised with the time learners arrive being a little staggered. So, to have them come in, put their bags down at their table and come over and engage in some English dialogue along the theme of “how are things in your village?” can provide a calm and a routine. It also meant learners may have been more in a hurry to get to class as the ones who would produce the most English, give some sound advice and both ask and tell me what they wanted to do in the game generally got the chance to play (much to the detriment of my doing well in the game). After a period of chat of clans, an attack on another players village, setting new troops to be trained there’s a bit of a lax period in the game which provides the perfect opportunity to bring the game to a close and get on with the class. Admittably this activity is more popular with the boys although you would be surprised at how many girls do have their own Clash of Clans accounts (you can play for free but within the game you can pay for faster upgrades – or not).
Classes of Clans
Other ways this game has crept into class have been:
- On learner made posters displaying their pastime activities and even aspects of class work done during the academic year. With a little written language production to justify the arts and crafts time.
- Sometimes activities in the book, such as gap fills, can seem a little distant and detached from learners own realm of experience so either adapting those sentences or eliciting a Clash of Clans inspired sentence using the target language can go down a storm.
- Learners can be more motivated to produce language either in spoken or written form if they it is on a subject they hold dear. A brief brainstorming session on language can scaffold such an activity in the classroom.