The Cabbage Speaking Game

Part of the Teaching Tool Thursdays Series

Today I want to share a fun speaking game you can play with (almost) no materials. Cabbage is a cross between hot potato and pass the parcel.

Making the Cabbage:

First, write THE END on a piece of paper and scrunch it up into a ball. This will become the innermost layer of the cabbage. Next, think of some questions you want your students to practice. Write one question per sheet of scrap paper. Then, cover the ball, one layer at a time by turning the paper so that the question is not visible before adding it as a new layer. Make sure to add at least as many cabbage leaves / layers as the number of students in your class.

If you have older students, you can reduce the time this would take to prepare by having them write the questions. Give each student 1 or 2 pieces of paper and a question word they must incorporate into the question they write. By giving students different question words, they will produce a greater variety of questions. You can also set additional requirements such as: questions must be written as a conditional or must include vocabulary related to food and drink, etc.

How to Play:

With students standing or sitting in a circle, begin playing a song of your choice or begin tapping/stomping a beat. Tell students to start passing the cabbage around the circle, making sure not to stop UNLESS you pause the song or stop tapping/stomping. Whomever is holding the cabbage when the music stops must peel the top layer of the cabbage off and answer the question aloud.

Once the question has been answered correctly, resume playing the music or tapping your beat. Continue until someone reaches the last layer that says THE END.

Variations and Extensions for Younger Students:

  • Vocabulary Review: Make each layer an image of a vocabulary concept. For example, a picture of an apple to elicit the word ¨apple¨.
  • Pre-Literacy Stage: The student passes the question to the teacher to read aloud. Then, the student answers.

Variations and Extensions for Older Students:

  • Make a cabbage with comprehension questions after completing a reading.
  • If a student answers the question incorrectly, then they must answer a follow up question of the teacher or group´s choice before resuming the game.
    • Question: How many legs does a spider have?
    • Incorrect Answer: 6
    • Follow-Up Question: Can spiders swim?
    • Correct Answer: No

Extra Fun:

  • Vary the speed that you tap / stomp the beat to and have students copy that speed when passing the cabbage around.
  • Call out REVERSE to change the direction that students must pass the ball.
  • Call out SKIP which requires that student to skip the student next to them when passing the cabbage.
  • Etc.

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