Useful Game Phrases Printable: Encouraging students to ask Follow Up Questions and Expand Conversations in AGO QnA Games:

AGO QnA games allow ESL / EFL students the opportunity to learn vocab and grammar conversationally – through asking and responding to questions. Ideally though, students will continue the dialogue beyond here – learning more about each other and getting valuable practice at using the target language. In reality, it is not always easy to achieve that, often due to vocab grammar and fluency gaps. To make it easier, we have made this printable cheat sheet – a page of useful replies, follow up questions and phrases that elicit a response, and even encourage some friendly banter!

This version is in English to Japanese, but we hope to add other languages over time too! Feel free to give us a nudge about that! 

Click below for a printable PDF link.

AGO-QnA-Useful-Phrases-EN-JP

Using AGO Cards At School and At Home:

When is the the best time to bring out the AGO cards in class?
While any time is OK, most teachers tend to break out the AGO cards either at the beginning or end of a lesson. Here are a few reasons why:

AGO TO START A LESSON:
In an EFL or ESL classroom, starting a lesson with an AGO game, especially when encouraging students to communicate only in English can set the tone for the lesson (i.e. students start the lesson doing something enjoyable, are made conscious of the importance of trying to communicate in English, feel good if they can achieve it, and once the class gets used to this behaviour, it becomes easier(but not necessarily easy!) to maintain ‘English only’ for the entire lesson). The same applies when playing games in other languages, too!

AGO cards (especially QnA cards), are also a great way to introduce or later review grammar and vocabulary. If you are super organized, it can be worth picking out question cards that have relevance to your prepared lesson, but otherwise, just grab a pack that fits your students needs, and start playing!

AGO TO FINISH A LESSON: On the other hand, some teachers prefer to use the promise of a game after completing lesson tasks as a motivator to keep kids on task during a lesson, or as an end of lesson filler. A lot of it comes down to teacher preference and what you find works for you and your students!

AGO AT HOME: At home, AGO offers a realistic and low resistance way to get children practicing reading and language skills. It’s a form of homework that’s willingly done, so long as it’s fun! And teachers, if you can get your students into the habit of playing at home with their parent or siblings… they have a good chance they will do their homework several times over, and start making some rapid progress!

Getting Great Results With AGO Card Games!

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/ 

Welcome to the AGO EFL / ESL Card Games Blog!

Welcome to the AGO card games blog!

We intend to use this page to post useful things related to AGO card games here!

AGO cards are designed for language learning and developing reading skills. We started off making games for learning English, but now have games in 5 languages, and over time hope to add many more!

AGO games are pretty easy to use right out of the box, but experienced teachers, parents and students also know that there is a lot more that you can get out of the games with just a few little tips, and by mixing in new things to keep it fresh! We intend to make this blog the best place to find those tips.

And if you have a good idea… or have a question / content request that you think others might also find useful, please let us know, and maybe we can add it here, too!

A common question / request that we often get is for new game ideas, so over the next few weeks we will start posting a bunch of ideas for games and classroom management.

Till then, take care and have fun learning languages and reading!