The Africa Classroom Package: Lessons and Activities

A Sleuthing Language Arts Game

Here is a language arts activity the will help your students understand language differences.

Choose five nonsense syllables to signify the word "no" in five different imaginary languages (for example: Language #1 - "bah," #2 - "gah," #3 - "lah," #4 - "tah," and #5 - "dah"). Then choose five words for "yes," one for each "language" (for example: #1 - "ree," #2 - "dee," #3 - "lee," #4 - "vee," and #5 - "zee). On separate index cards, write the number of one language and its words for "yes" and "no." Make enough cards for all students to have one. Give each student one card. Once they have their new language's words for "yes" and "no" memorized, tell students they are to go around the class and communicate by asking questions in English and answering questions only in their new language. They may ask the following questions only: "Can fish swim in the water?" "Can fish swim in the sky?" "Can birds fly in the water?" "Can birds fly in the sky?" (or make up your own questions). The objectives are for students to 1) find all of the other students who speak their language, 2) learn all the words for "yes" and "no" in all five languages, and 3) identify groups of foreign language speakers.

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