Tag Archives: games

How to use the Interactive WhiteBoard “Jamboard” for an Online Vocabulary Bingo

Interactive, engaging, effective and if possible, fun are the ingredients I want in every lesson. Even if it is online.

This low-tech activity is a marriage between any video conferencing platform and a whiteboard. t can be used as an end-of-term vocabulary revision or to revise the vocabulary of a single unit.

We are going to use two techs here:

  1. A video conference platform. As I have explained in previous posts, I am using the super-easy 8×8.vc video platform – I think they need to start paying me for all the free publicity- but any platform will do as long as it has a chatbox.
  2. A very easy to use interactive whiteboard: the famous Google whiteboard, JamBoard: easy, free and collaborative and….. with sticky notes. Yay!!!

Now that we have the perfect wedding, let’s start:

How to go about it:

Using the chat box in the video conference platform of your choice.

Step 1.  Ask students to type vocabulary they have learned in this unit (this course) into the chatbox. Allow several minutes for this step. Remind them to check their spelling before clicking the Send button.

Step 2.  Revise the meanings of the vocabulary they have written pointing out, at the same time, any spelling mistakes or typos they might have made.

Using the white interactive board Jamboard

Tell students you are going to play a bingo game and to do this, they are going to use a very cool tool called Jamboard.

Tell them you are going to assign each of them a different frame(slide) containing a bingo card. They should write their name on the frame in the space provided and this frame will become only theirs. They will need to choose 9 words from the chatbox and write them in the bingo squares of their bingo card.

Have a look at my Bingo Jamboard and make a copy if you want to use it. The instructions for the students to play this bingo game are on the second frame. This is a gif to show you an easy option to mark off squares

Watch this easy tutorial explaining how to use Jamboard and how to set up a bingo card game. Hope you and your students enjoy the activity!!!

Teaching Online? An Engaging Little Tool you and your Students are Gonna Love

Are you teaching remotely? You are gonna love this tool!!!!

Guess what. I have the most incredible job in the world. I love teaching. It might seem boring from the outside. Even some people might say it is repetitive; you know, always teaching the same things … but believe me when I tell you that if you are willing and committed to teaching, you can explore ways to make teaching always new for you. And this is what has kept me hooked to this job all my life. Having fun trying new things. Some work, some don’t. What I am going to share with you today, definitely works.

So, this morning I woke up well-rested and thinking about my next online lesson and racking my brains about how to make my next class memorable and effective for my students. And then, I had an aha moment and pictured a tool I had on my virtual ever-growing shelf named “Things to Try”.

The tool is called Classroom Q and below, you will get a sneak peek of what the tool can do. This is a recording of one of my classes doing different tasks. (00:10)

Why do I like it?

This tool has some ingredients that are my absolute favourites:

  • Simple
  • Free
  • Engaging
  • Interactive
  • and to top it all, students don’t have to register
What is ClassroomQ?

ClassroomQ was designed as a  virtual hand-raising tool that lets students ask questions and wait in a queue for their teacher’s assistance. But, I have not used it for this.

ClassroomQ has an online buzzer which can be used to play games or to turn a boring exercise into a game. However, the great thing about this tool is not its buzzer, it is its Box for Comments. This is where students can write whatever assignment you have given them. It allows a maximum of 200 characters/ about 35 words)

Imagine the possibilities: from very quick answers, like “what is the past of “take?” to more complex written assignments, like writing a small paragraph containing XXX

What gets students really engaged and motivated is the possibility to interact in real-time and the added challenge of being the first to answer correctly.

Instructions for the teacher
  • Go to https://classroomq/ and sign up.
  • You will be given a class code you will need to share with your students.
  • For more detailed instructions, watch these short video tutorials below
How have I used Classroom Q with my students?

Before the class: 

As we are revising Sports,  I created a hangman hiding vocabulary related to, obviously, sports. To get the chance to say a letter and guess the hidden word, I posed a question they needed to answer using ClassroomQ. I asked a mix of very short answers and some sentences to translate using the vocabulary in context. Classroom Q displays the answers of the first 5 fastest students. You can make room for another student to move up the queue by clicking on the name of one student and deleting them from the queue. They can also remove themselves from the queue by clicking their Cancel Button.

For more details, I have recorded these short video tutorials where I explain in detail how the tool works.

Part 1: The Teacher’s interface1:45)

Part 2: The student’s interface. (1:50)

Part 3: Viewing the students’ interactions (1:149

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The Secret List: A Non-Prep Vocabulary Revision Game to Kick Off the Lesson

I always start my classes revising what we learned in the previous lesson. I do it for many reasons: it allows students who have missed the previous lesson to catch up and not fall behind, it gives students the opportunity to clarify meanings or pronunciation they haven’t quite grasped, and also it encourages retrieval practice that, in my opinion, is the way to learn.

I really think that the first 5 minutes are really important as it sets the mood for the rest of the lesson. That’s why I  am always designing revision activities that add variety in my lessons and, if possible, fun.

This one I will call The List. It’s quick, fun and effective.

Context: I have been working with the topic Language Learning and my students have been learning some new vocabulary. Time to revise it!

Procedure: Ask your students to write a secret list of 10 words, collocations or expressions they learned during the previous lesson. Ask them to keep it secret.

Pair students up. Tell students they will have 1 minute to try to guess the words on their partner’s list. Say Student A starts trying to guess the words on Student B’s list. As B listens to the words, he crosses the ones Student A has guessed. Ask them to change roles. Let students compare lists and have a look at the ones they could not guess. You might want to write them on the board to revise and reinforce.

Award 1 point for each guess. Need a timer?  Here

Done! Easy peasy!

 

Modern Taboo with a Twist

Is there anything students love more than a good game? The Taboo Game is an oldie but goodie and I have yet to find a student who does not like it.  Playing and learning? It’s always a win-win.

Playing games in class is something that I often do. Well, not this year. I have been on sick leave for 2 weeks and it is taking its toll on my lessons. I feel like I am always in a  hurry trying to make up for lost time. It might be working. I might be finally catching up with the syllabus but I am not having as much fun this year as in the previous ones. And this needs to stop. Right now.

So, to give my students a much-needed respite, we have revised the relative sentences using the Taboo game.

GUIDED PRACTICE: RELATIVE SENTENCES
  1. Before playing, I wrote the beginning of a sentence and asked students to provide the relative pronoun. This is the best time to correct potential mistakes.
  • It’s a person… WHO/THAT
  • It’s something … WHICH/THAT
  • It’s  a place … WHERE
  • It’s a time … WHEN

2. I wrote the word  DOG on the board and asked students to define it using the correct relative pronoun. (for ex, it is an animal that barks).

3. Then, I wrote TEACHER in capitals and under the word TEACHER, I wrote 4 taboo words they were not allowed to use in their description of the word. For example: teach, students, subjects, school. Their definition could be something like ” it is a person whose job involves using the board a lot and helping people learn  English or maths”.

Tip: if it’s a B1 class, I would use only 3 taboo words instead of the 4 you have in this game

SEMI-GUIDED PRACTICE: MODERN TABOO

Once again, to create this game I have used the flexible multipurpose Spark Adobe ( honestly, I cannot go without it).

Procedure:

  1. Divide the class into two teams and ask a representative from each team to come to the front of the class and face away from the board. Decide which team is going to start.
  2.  Player A faces their team A.  Display the presentation below. Team A describes the word at the top of the slide, without using any of the words below it (taboo words). If they use any of the taboo words, they will lose 1 point for their team and a new slide will be displayed. When Player A guesses a word, the team gets 1 point and a new slide is displayed.
  3. Team A continues to describe words for Player A for 1 minute. The game continues with teams and players taking it in turns to describe and guess words. The team with the highest score at the end of the game are the winners.

NOTE: Make sure you don’t use all the words on the presentation below. You will need at least 4 for a variation od the Taboo Game you can do at the end of the game to practise questions.

Taboo

FREE PRACTICE

Once each team has had their turn, I have put them in groups of 4 and given them paper cards to continue playing. This time, Player A describes the word to their Team. One player from Team B is allowed to see the card to make sure none of the words on the card are used. You can get plenty of Taboo cards on IslCollective. Bear in mind, you will need to register to download content.

You can also download the traditional Taboo Cards here (B1-B2)  and here (A1-A2)

THE TWIST: ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

To wrap up the activity, ask a representative from Team A and Team B to come to the front of the class. Ask them to face their team and away from the board.  Display a word. The team will have to ask questions so that Student A guesses the word; again, they cannot use any of the Taboo words in their questions.

Remember our example?TEACHER? This could go like this…

Team A to Student A

  • Who helps you learn English?  Who is standing right next to you? Who writes your school report?

I hope you have enjoyed the activity! Have fun teaching, have fun learning!

Dry Erase Boards to Help Fix Grammar and Spelling Mistakes from Essays

Happy February everyone! Finally January is over, and we can start dreaming with the spring.  And that reminds me that I need to start thinking about losing some weight. Well, every cloud has its silver lining! I know, I know, we are still in the thick of winter. One can only dream…

The second term is upon us and it’s now the time to give students the results of their tests. I am never super excited about it. While it’s nice to see how some students are making the most of the course and will pass with flying colours, some others aren’t that lucky and, believe me when I tell you that even after almost 3o years teaching, it still saddens me to see their disappointment. Some of them are smart enough to admit they have not studied enough but for some of them, it is not a question of how much effort they put into it.

And talking about exams, isn’t it true that students tend to always make the same mistakes? I am talking here about grammar and spelling mistakes. Now, how many of you have corrected the spelling of “writing” or a “people goes”. See? It shouldn’t be that difficult to correct if, when we teach what we know is bound to become a mistake, we teach, revise, reinforce and emphasize the correct form. If only it were that easy… I can hear you say!

Anyway, these are some of the most easy-to-fix mistakes my B2 students have made in their essays. Problem is that if I give them their exams with the mistakes underlined and corrected, they are going to say “oh yes, silly me, I know the grammar for this, teacher!” and after a brief glimpse at the mistake, they are just going to forget it. What? Over my dead body!

On the blog, there are a lot of games and strategies to help students analyze and fix their written mistakes. This is just a new one! Fun, but also hopefully, effective!

For this activity, I have used a template that won my heart as soon as I spotted it on Genial.ly and some dry erase boards, which you can easily substitute by a regular A4 sheet of paper. You can, but it is more fun if you use a dry board. Don’t know why, but it is. Trust me.

Dry Erase Boards to Help Fix Grammar and Spelling Mistakes from Essays

You need

  • Grammar and spelling mistakes  from students’ essays.
  • Dry Erase Boards and whiteboard markers  (alternatively regular A4 sheets of paper).

Note: click on the 3 dots to enlarge the presentation. Notice the Push here button  to advance through the slides.

 

Procedure:

  • Divide the class into teams of three and give each team a dry erase board and a whiteboard marker.  Tell teams to quickly come up with a creative name for its team. Write the names of the teams in a list on one side of the board.
  • Display the first mistake and give students 45 seconds to discuss the mistake and try to fix it. You can use a timer from www.online-stopwatch.com or from classroom screen.
  • When the time is up, a representative from each team needs to raise the board with their guess at correcting the mistake.
  • Ask them to comment and discuss the mistake as a whole class.
  • If it’s correct, they score 1 point.
  • The team with the most points at the end wins.

At the end of the exercise, students do the exercises again but this time orally. This retrieval practice is what is going to help students remember the correct structure or spelling.

The next day, I would suggest asking students to discuss in pairs the mistakes and their correction, to fix knowledge.

Fun and effective! Enjoy teaching!