The purpose of this activity is to have students listen to sentence-length descriptions and react by physically moving from one area to another in the classroom. This activity provides student with multiple exposures to a targeted sentence structure and vocabulary in context while engaging them in some physical activity.
Students move their chairs or carpet squares to form a large circle. The total number of chairs in the circle should be one less than the total number of players and should include a chair for the teacher.
The teacher stands in the middle of the circle to start the game. The person standing in the middle is the “ghost,” or any other character that may be more culturally relevant to the language being taught.
The “ghost” says in the target language “The big wind blows…”
The class responds chorally in the target language “The big wind blows who (or what)?”
The “ghost” finishes the sentence with a sentence-length description in the target language (ex. “…people wearing white shoes.”).
The seated students must listen carefully to what the ghost says. If they are a part of the category described by the ghost, they are “blown away by the wind” and must leave their chair and find a new place to sit across the circle from their current location.
The person left without a place to sit after the wind has “blown” everyone into a new chair is the new “ghost”, and they stand in the circle and say a new sentence to continue the game.
The game repeats itself until the teacher calls time and instructs students to move their chairs back.
A variation of this game includes two kinds of wind: “big wind” in which people who are a part of the described group change chairs and “small wind” in which people who do NOT belong to the category switch chairs.
The teacher may choose to do a variation of this activity in which students only use negative sentences “the big wind blows… people NOT wearing white shoes.”
The teacher may choose to have the ghost respond to the choral question “The wind blows who?” with a variety of sentence structures. Students may use simple sentences like “I am wearing…”, compound sentences like “I have on blue pants but don’t have on white shoes” or even more complex grammar like relative clauses “people who have on…”.
For lower level students, the teacher may choose to use pre-written cards that the “ghost” reads aloud.
This activity may be modified to include a presentational speaking element by asking the “ghost” to produce a sentence (with or without a prompt) aloud to the group.
For pre-literate students, the teacher may whisper a sentence in a student’s ear and have the student repeat it aloud to the group, so the student does not have to produce new language on their own.
If a class has students with a range of proficiency levels, this activity can be conducted in small groups. Students who are selected as the "ghost" can be supported by other students who have a higher proficiency level instead of being supported by the teacher.
For lower proficiency students, the teacher may choose to have word walls or sentence frames visible in the classroom to support comprehension and provide a visible reference for sentence production.
Chairs or carpet squares, if playing on the floor
A large open space that allows for movement