Monday, 17 April 2017

Roll the dice

Dice can be used for lots of different activities in the languages classroom.  The photo above shows the dice that I use most often.  They are foam "silent" dice.  I had started off with traditional dice like these ones

but the noise of them on the tables was getting too much!  The foam ones are much better, but you need to watch out for children sticking their pencils in them...

Here are some ideas for using dice in the languages classroom.
  • Roll the dice several times to create a picture.  Each number corresponds to a different part of the picture.  Here are just some of the grids that are available online.  My students enjoy creating Miró and Matisse pictures in this way.

  • Students can make their own dice by making a simple cube out of card and paper and writing or drawing information on each side.

  • A dice has six sides and therefore is ideal for subject pronouns and verb forms.  Roll one dice with the six subject pronouns and another with six infinitives, and the students have to give the correct verb form.
  • There are many storytelling dice available.  These can be adapted for use in the languages classroom.
  • Children can create their own board games and of course use the dice when playing the game.
  • The throw of a dice can help children to build up sentences.  They have a grid like this one, and the dice choose for them lots of different sentences. When the children are confident with the structure of the sentence they can start to adapt the grid themselves.

  • A similar idea is to build lots of different phrases which share the same structure by using a set of dice which you roll for each component.  These are dice that I used to practise describing monsters and their body parts.  We had to remember to roll the dice in the right order so as to get the descriptions right.  I used blank foam dice for these.
  • With games like 5 in a row, the rows and columns can be numbered.  The student then throws the dice twice to get the co-ordinates.  They have to answer the question in the square indicated by those co-ordinates.
  • Students have a numbered list of words.  They roll the dice and say a sentence containing the word which has that number on the list.  
  • Taking the previous idea a step further, students throw three or four dice and make a sentence with the words that correspond to those numbers on the grid.
  • There are lots of maths games that can be played with dice, and different shapes of dice that can be used.  I use them to get random numbers for Countdown-style number games and to make three- or four-figure numbers to work out in writing.
  • Children roll the dice and then have to say that number of words about a topic.

 Do you have any good ways of using dice in the classroom?

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