This week’s video features, Meghan Killeen, a teacher who works with me at Rennert. She is sharing a fun minimal pairs activity called Pronunciation Go Fish. She gets the cards for the game from a book called Pronunciation Card Games, but you can easily make your own. Here are the steps:
1. Meghan does this activity in 3 groups of 3 (she has 9 students), but you could also do it as a full class activity or with larger groups. The first step is to figure out how many sets of cards you need to make for each group to have a ‘deck’. The cards for this game are based on minimal pairs. You can easily create your own cards based on the problem sounds of your class. Some examples of common minimal pair sets would be sheep and ship or heel and hill. You want to make sure that each deck has 3 cards of each minimal pair word.
2. This game is done as a mingling activity with the Go Fish pile located on the desk in the classroom (but you could also easily play this game sitting around a table). So, make sure each student has the right number of cards in their hand according to how you created materials in step one and place the remaining cards in the Go Fish pile on the table.
3. Students mingle and find other people in their group. They ask “Do you have a _____?” They are looking for an exact match. However, if they use the wrong pronunciation, their partner will hear the minimal pair and not know what the student is looking for. A student might say “Do you have a sheep (ship)?” and then their partner gives them a sheep card (not a ship). If this misunderstanding occurs, the student must take whatever card their partner gives them. They can’t correct the other person or show the other person the card (NO, a sheep (ship)! Like this! (student shows ship card)). This helps the students really become aware of what they THINK they are saying vs. what their partner HEARS them say (and vice versa).
4. When students get three of the same card, that is a match and they put it in front of their seat at the table. The student with the most matches at the end of the game wins.
Try out this game and let us know how it works for you!