Ah……the lure of games!

It is probably safe to say that if you teach, you have an arsenal of games that you have created, developed, discovered, modified, borrowed, or taken. There are so many sites that generate game content; the links below are  just a small sampling of what I have accumulated  on my wiki resources for teacher page. If you teach a language, you may be familiar with any of the following sites:

  • Burrito Builder games for the present, past tense in Spanish, free
  • Classtools arcade game generator among other templates, free
  • Contentgenerator some you have to buy, but ones like Fling the teacher are free
  • elmaeagles practice Spanish tenses in a timed Hangman format, free
  • Quia search by topic, level, text, etc.  free
  • SMARTboard template Who wants to be a millionaire, free
  • spanishspanish, example Colors many free activities, for full range must pay membership
  • uncw.edu/Edgames has powerpoint games, board games and excel games, free
  • zondle games to support learning, you can create your own, free

It can all be very overwhelming when you begin to explore the different sites and their vast offerings of games.  For that reason today I’m going to highlight a few of the games that I use each year.  I’m including the actual game, what I use it for, and when possible, the site I’ve used.  I’m also going to include a few games that do not require a website.

Sample powerpoint games that I use

From  EFL Classroom 2.0, I have modified the Top 5 Template twice:  once to use at the beginning of the year so that Spanish vocabulary returns to students after summer vacation and also to have some fun, and then one that I use as a review in January, again coming back from break.  Explanation of the game can be found in the links above and also on the opening slides, but here are my two modified templates.

Game Board Templates

From MES-English there are a multitude of games available with templates that you can modify to suit your needs.  I have modified so many of the templates that I have lost track of how many I have.  I essentially use the games for vocabulary practice and review and for conversation.  You can create your own rules to go with the templates, such as when landing on a square the student must create a complete sentence based on the content of the square, or the student has X number of seconds to offer an answer, or if the student answers incorrectly he/she must go back to start, etc.  I print out several copies of the game and laminate it.  The students form groups of 3 – 4, are given a “die” and playing pieces and this becomes part of their group work for the day.   Here are some samples:

  • game knock out food  With this game and the next game, students have player pieces and must circle the board twice (inner and outer circles), either saying the vocabulary word, or saying a sentence using the word.  When a player lands on another player, he “knocks” that player back to start
  • game knock out food 2
  • game sports
  • word begin board game  students say a word/sentence for the letter that they land on

Other game templates

These games I got from various sites, and unfortunately do not remember where the original came from.

No template required

  • Blockbusters:  this is a game I’ve been playing for at least 20 years.  A full description of it is included in this file: blockbusters  .
  • Magic Squares:  A grid with vocabulary pictures with the words assigned to a number below the grid.  Students place the number associated with the picture in the square.  If done correctly, the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines should all add up to the same number:  the magic number.  Example: Magic square food
  • Musical chairs:  Form a circle of chairs, one for every student initially.  Call a category, such as vegetables, of fruits, or capitals, or -AR verbs, etc.  Students begin to walk as the teacher begins to list words that fit into that category.  As they are walking, one chair is removed.  Eventually the teacher will say a word that does NOT fit into the category and the students then have to sit down.  The student without a chair is then out of the game.  Another category is announced, a list begins, a chair is removed, etc.   I put the removed chair(s) inside the circle with paper/pencil and the “outed” student goes there.  With each succeeding category, the student writes the word that doesn’t belong.  At the end of the game, I collect those papers and randomly select one.  That one paper, if it contains the incorrect words, will also win the game.  This is a way to keep all student involved, even after being removed from “walking the circle”.  Here is an example of the game from our music unit Musica chairs for music unit categories
  • Toca  This is a great game for learning vocabulary.  You can have students draw 9 words (in a tic tac toe formation) or you can have versions that you have created.  Students play in pairs, and alternate keeping score.  Teacher calls a word that may or may not be on the students’ playing board.  The first student to touch the correct word scores the point.  Sometimes we use paper clips to drop on the word, but never pencils!  Students become quite aggressive in trying to be the first person to correctly touch the word.  Sometimes I will call the same word 3, 4, 5 times in succession.  Other times I establish a pattern and go from “A” word to “C” word to “F” word back to “A”, “C”, etc.  Sometimes I keep going back to the harder word after each easier word.  Here are some examples of Toca boards Toca 9B  Toca review verbs

From Ana Cristina Pratas on twitter (@AnaCristinaPrts),   I got the following sites that I fully intend to use in the coming school year.  Check them out:

There are just so many resources that we have as world language teachers!  In no way does this post even begin to touch what is available.  This post was just to highlight a few that I use.  Please add your favorites to the conversation!


3 thoughts on “Ah……the lure of games!

  1. Excellent web site. A lot of useful info here. I’m sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks to your sweat!

  2. Pingback: House & Family Vocab | Las clases de Stilson

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