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Written by New Concept Mandarin
In a Chinese classroom, new words will usually be introduced. How can you master these new words in the class? Games and activities will surely be better than just memorizing by rote. Here I would like to introduce some interesting and effective classroom games and activities to learn Chinese vocabulary.
Make Customized Flashcards
The teachers can show students the new word with a flashcard. After explaining the meaning, students can think of their own association to remember the pronunciation, character, and meaning. The association can be funny and wild, for example, 啤酒 (píjiǔ): beer, you drink too much beer so you want to “pee”. The character of 酒 has 3 dots which indicates water and the right part looks like a wine jar. Students can write or draw these associations besides the new word on a flashcard. Then they can study the new words with these special flashcards.
You Act I Guess Game
The game “You Act I Guess” can be played between student and teacher or among students. One person will pick up a word from the words taught in the class and act it out then the other person will guess what the word is. If it is a group class, students can be divided into groups to compete with each other to see who can guess the most words. If the students are of higher level, the teachers can change the game into “You Describe I Guess”. It means the student only can use other words to describe the new word to let other people guess.
I Am Here Game
This game can be used when teachers teach a group of new words in the same category, for example, fruits: 苹果 (pínɡɡuǒ): apple, 香蕉 (xiānɡjiāo): banana, 橙子(chénɡzi): orange, 梨 (lí): pear, 葡萄 (pútɑo): grape. The teachers will print the pictures of these fruits. Each student will hold one of the pictures.
The student taking apple will start saying: “苹果在这里，苹果在这里，香蕉在哪里？” (Pínɡɡuǒ zài zhèli，pínɡɡuǒ zài zhèli，xiānɡjiāo zài nǎli?) “Apple is here, apple is here, where is the banana?” Then it’s the turn for the student who takes the banana. After several rounds students can exchange their pictures.
Teachers can ask students to speak faster if they are more familiar with these words.
Telling A Story
Usually, the new words come from the same lesson are related to each other. Therefore at the end of the class, teachers can pick some keywords to let students make up a story with them. Preparation time can be given and students can write down an outline of the story and later tell the story to everyone. If the student is still a beginner and cannot speak many sentences. Teachers can show the student a picture about these words and let the students say as many words or phrases as possible about the picture. Gradually students can use simple sentences to describe the pictures.
To learn the new words better, class time is not enough. Before or after the class, students can learn words through interesting and well-explained video lessons and practice the vocabulary by listening to and repeating after the recording.
There are many good Chinese video lessons online. There are also wonderful Chinese learning Apps, for example, New Concept Mandarin’s Chinese Video Course With this, you can study Chinese words anywhere anytime.