Why I use yes-no games.

  1. Yes-no games play a  motivating role.
  2. They make the learning process natural and effective, create situations  for real communication.
  3. Develop thinking skills.

Here are some examples of  Yes-No games that I use in class:

- Guess a number from 1 to 100;

- Guess what is in the box (bag).  (Can be used as a warming up activity or for practicing there is /are structure);

- Guess an object in the classroom;

- Where is it? (Students close their eyes,  I hide something in the classroom. Students ask questions: Is it under the book? Is it behind the desk?);

- Where are you? (One student imagines that he/she is somewhere else (for example, in the park). Other students have to guess where he/she is. Students ask questions: Are you outside? Are you inside?);

- Guess, what animal am I? (Students ask questions: Can you jump? Have you got a long tail? Are you green?).

At first students asked random questions, but then I explained that they had to think what kind of questions to ask. The main rule is: ‘’Ask as few questions as possible. The faster  you find the answer - the better. ” I teach them to choose the right parameter. In the case of guessing games the strategy is “divide by two”. When teaching English to children who are at a very low level, I write the examples of questions on the board (Is it 50? Is it more than 50? Is it to the right of the table?)

Sometimes I put students into pairs or in small groups. It helps increase the student talking time a lot.

No doubt, students enjoy playing yes-no  games. The atmosphere is relaxing. All students are involved.


# Alexander Sokol 2013-02-25 10:01
Tatyana, thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum!

A few questions / comments.

1. You are writing that Yes-No games help you to develop thinking skills of learners. Can you specify which particular thinking skills you are trying to develop when dealing with Yes-No games and how you evaluate them?

2. You are writing about the importance of asking good questions and choosing the right parameter. I absolutely agree with you here. For many colleagues, however, the question of distinguishing between a better and a worse question is not that clear. For example, if we take the questions you have included in your post. Are all of them at the same level or are some better/worse? How do we decide and how do we get the pupils to see this difference?

3. You are giving an example of demonstrating the use of 'divide by two' strategy when dealing with number games. But what happens when learners move to other games eg guess on object. How is this strategy used then?

Looking forward to your response.
# Renata Jonina 2013-03-02 00:37
Dear Tatyana,

Since I am also trying some yes-no things with 7 year-olds I would be interested in reading more details on the procedure of how you play. At which points of time you stop and make students reflect if they go in the right direction and how you hold the discussion on weaker-stronger questions.

Looking forward to your so welcomed sharing.
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