AGO or An English Teacher’s UNO Cards

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Here I will review a game card which came out about 5 years ago here in Japan. These cards come in both English only versions and Japanese translated versions. They come in a little pack, but are a big tool for helping students use English.

AGO, if spoken as it looks, sounds exactly like the Japanese word for English. It is also three letters like the game it is copying, the well respected and classic UNO card game. Rules are virtually the same with colors or number matching to place down the next card, jump (skip), pick up 1, 2, 3, 4 and change direction, and of course color change.

What makes the game different is that each card has a question on it. These can be simple as in the first blue set. Questions range from “How old are you?” to “What’s the color of your bike?” They are great even for young students who still need help reading, which the teacher can do for them, but they all are still getting the same questions reviewed again and again.

I recommend these cards, but will warn you that the orange level 3 cards are really hard. I think they might stump many adult students! Also the number of cards limits your players to no more than 6 as the pick up pile will be left with very little and it will make game play more complicated. To augment this you could reduce the number of cards per student when dealing, for example give only 3 cards instead of 6. The cards are paper and can rip, but are durable enough to be worth the price.

Alternative games with the cards are possible. I use my white board and put selected cards up with magnets then students shoot to hit cards and answer questions-even adult students can like this! Another one is to use the different level of cards, 1, 2, and 3, to create a Jeopardy style grid of questions with built in difficulty by the level of the card.

I believe www.agocardgame.com has created a fresh and useful game for the English classroom that any English teacher can pick up and use tomorrow with little preparation. If you’re a teacher here in Japan they are a must. Check them out on Amazon or ELT Books.

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