Quite commonly used as a Speech Therapy tool, I have found barrier games to be an excellent oral communication activity for my French Immersion students. As a teacher in a Primary French Immersion classroom, I am always looking for new ways to get students communicating with each other in French while at the same time allowing them to practice their skills and the vocabulary on which we have been working. Barrier Games not only help to foster oral communication skills but, they make a great literacy center too!
What is a Barrier Game?
A barrier game is an oral communication game. Students play with a partner. Each person is given the same objects and some kind of barrier. The goal of the game is for one person to give their partner specific directions on how to arrange the materials without any visual cues. The partner who is giving instructions needs to be clear and concise and the person receiving the instructions need to listen closely to ensure that he or she is placing the objects in the right place.
Putting the Barrier Game Together
Each package in my Barrier Game Kits includes 5 different backgrounds and a variety of playing pieces. To make the game, make two copies of each background and playing piece. Then, simply cut out the game pieces and you are ready to go. When introducing the activity, I choose the game pieces and background that my students will use. However, as they become more proficient, I allow them to choose! With 35 different game pieces, there is a lot of options and choice.
Oh the colour ink I can hear you saying! If colour ink is a problem, I have included all images in black and white as well! Have your students colour them in for some added enjoyment!
What Can I use to Make the Barrier?
I like to keep things simple and use resources that I already own as much as possible! One way to make a barrier is to simply provide each students with a file folder. The background pages fit well in a letter size folder and students can easily hold up one side to keep their partner from seeing their image.
I have also made barriers for this game with a cookie sheet and magnets. I found both at my local dollar store!
Place the magnets on the backs of the images and background scenes you plan to use. Each child will need the same set. They can then just hold up their cookie sheet and place the pictures right on it!
What are Some Benefits of Barrier Games in the French Immersion Classroom?
1. The barrier games help develop skills communicating through both speaking and listening.
2. Students need to listen attentively to details and follow instructions.
3. Students need to use subject specific vocabulary.
4. Students need to use adjective, adverbs and prepositions within their directions.
5. The listener is able to practice asking clarifying questions to ensure he or she is placing objects correctly.
How do I use Barrier Games in my French Immersion Classroom?
Once my students become familiar with the activity, I include it as one of my literacy center rotations. Each student is given a set of cards and a background. The student giving directions for the activity places 4 or 5 cards on their background and then directs their partner to place the same cards on his or her background. The listener is welcome to ask clarifying questions, as the goal is to recreate the same image.
I also provide my students with a reference page that has a visual list of positional vocabulary.
I coordinate the barrier games with the themes that I am using in the classroom to ensure that my students are familiar with the vocabulary. I currently have 4 themes available in my TPT store with more to come soon! Click on the pictures to take a closer look!
Have you ever used a barrier game in your French Immersion classroom? What other kinds of oral communication games do you like to use?
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