Three classmates are playing the game.
Vy: Here are the names of four classmates. Which one is special? Julie, Mai, Saura, Thi.
Katya: Could you repeat that again?
Vy: Sure. Julie, Mai, Saura, Thi.
Alessa: I know. Julie is special.
Vy: OK. Why?
Alessa: Because she is not Asian, but the other three are.
Vy: That’s right! But there is another one.
Katya: Let me see. Oh, I got it. Thi is special. She is the only one who knows how to drive.
Vy: You got it.
Danica: I know another one. Saura is special.
Katya: Really? How come?
Danica: She is the only one who finished her homework for today.
(Eruption of laughter.)
Vy: Now it’s your turn, Alessa.
(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students. See below.)
While the students were in engaged in this activity in triads, I was standing on the perimeter. I could overhear the list that Vy read, but couldn’t think of anything special about the four names except the obvious one that Julie was the only non-Asian. A minute later, I heard the sudden explosion of laughter and talking from them. I realized that they had shared an inside joke.
The basis of this game (Odd Man Out) might sound familiar to many of you. But by exploiting it more, it turns into a great interactive activity that is not only fun but also a chance to internalize many useful expressions and produce a lot of conversation. And students are intent on listening to each other.
In its simplest format, student read a list of four words to their partners. The partners have to choose which word is strange or odd or special and explain why. For example:
cat, lion, dog, fish
Most of us would probably identify “fish” as being odd because it is the only one that lives in water. However, another choice could be “lion,” since the others are common pets.