As a general rule, the goal when using AGO cards is to maximize BOTH educational value and fun. There is an art to that, no matter what game you play!
AGO cards are essentially tools for presenting educational targets and information in ways that are motivating and interesting to students. Whoever wins a game is not as important as how engaged students are, and the amount and quality of the practice they get during play.
Choosing The Right Game:
There are lots of ways to use AGO cards and different methods each have their own strengths, weaknesses and draw focus onto different aspects of the content. Factors such as class size, age, ability, amount of time available, familiarity of target content and the personalities of the players are considerations educators need to bear in mind when setting up to play.
Don’t Make It Too Competitive:
While competitive instincts can be harnessed to create an exciting learning environment, it’s important to first of all ensure everyone has fun. Generally, the younger a child is, the less they can handle losing, so with young students, try to minimise the amount of focus placed on the winning, while offering lots of encouragement for good play and good effort. If you are playing too, it’s generally a good idea to ive your students the satisfaction of beating you, and this can also be used to soften the blow of not winning for other students.
Using Only The Target Language (when using AGO for language acquisition):
When using AGO cards for language learning, ideally students should only communicate in the target language – in practice, this may just be an aspirational goal at the beginning, but it’s certainly something students should work towards. AGO cards don’t contain translations in other languages on them, but especially with beginners or those learning a new language at home via AGO there may be times when access to a translation would certainly make things easier. In this case, we recommend downloading and printing a translation from the agocards.com website, or otherwise using one of the AGO apps (which have the advantage of modelling pronunciation as well). From 2021, the QnA apps now also offer translations of each card into a number of languages within the app.
If you’d like more info or ideas on how to get students communicating only in the target language in game, check this article we wrote about the topic: https://www.teachingvillage.org/2014/05/31/english-only-in-english-class/