Introduction: Past Tense Canadian Grammar Game - Games for English Teachers (ESL)

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These game is a fun way to do controlled practice of grammar. It also introduces some surface-level cultural points (food, music, government, landmarks, etc.). Challenge yourself to make your own cards from your own country!

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Step 1:

Print two copies of the file. You can construct them in one of two ways:
Glue the cards onto coloured paper. Cut them out and insert into card-sized laminating sheets and laminate. This is my recommended strategy as they are better sealed, are the exact same size, have no sharp corners, and last longer.

Print a pattern/design on the back of the pages. Laminate the pages and carefully cut out the cards.

If you don't have a laminator, try printing the cards on heavy card stock.

Step 2: Directions for Play

Students make group of 3-5 students. Students choose the order of play (can use Rock-Paper-Scissors).Game play works just like the traditional Go Fish game. The purpose of the game is to make pairs. One student will shuffle the cards and deal 5 to each player (7 is okay for smaller groups). If students have a pair of cards in their hands, they remove them and place them in front of them. Some students sometimes miss this point and throw the cards in a discard pile. Tell the students their cards act as points.Students will choose one person in their group, choose a card in their hand, and ask the question on it. If the person they ask has the same card, they answer the question in the positive and hand the card over. The player gets to have another turn if this happens (they can choose a different student to ask if they like). If the answer is in the negative, the player draws a card from the draw pile and play moves to the left.The game ends when all of the cards from the draw pile and students hands are paired up. The winner has the most pairs.


Sometimes students will quickly run out of cards. If there are still cards in the draw pile, tell the students to draw 3 cards from it and continue.Teachers might wish to add the special rule of playing again if you draw the card you asked for.You can create your own decks of cards easily to represent different countries, grammar points, and so on!For fluency practice, you can ask students questions (or have students ask each other questions) about their own lives, such as:

  • Did you watch TV on the weekend?
  • Did you wake up early this morning?
  • Did you play video games last night?
  • Did you study last night?
  • Did you eat fish for dinner last night?
  • Did you eat breakfast this morning?
  • Did you take the train so school this morning?
  • Did you listen to music yesterday?
  • Did you talk with your friends this morning?
  • Did you go shopping on the weekend?
  • Did you enjoy writing exams this week?
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