Activity: Gap Fill Gamble

Games make just about everything better. With this activity, you can turn that humble old workhorse, the gap fill, into a fun, easy game. Check out how on Teaching English.


Games, Learning, and the Brain

A cool infographic from the MIND Research Institute looking at brain chemistry and how games play a role in learning.



Worksheet Wednesday: Taboo

For this week’s Worksheet Wednesday, I’m not sharing a worksheet. See you later, folks.

taboocardI kid, I kid. But really, there’s no worksheet. Rather, I want to talk about a fun technique I use periodically to review vocabulary. Maybe you’ve played the excellent party game Taboo, the fast-paced word guessing game. A quick primer on the rules: two teams compete to guess the most number of words from the game cards. Each round, one member of a team has 90 seconds to describe the target word at the top of a Taboo card to her team while avoiding the ‘taboo’ words on the card. If the team guesses the word, they get a point. If the current ‘it’ member passes on a card or says one of the taboo words, then the other team gets a point. All the while, a member of the other team watches the ‘it’ to make sure they don’t say one of the taboo words. Hilarity ensues.

One of my vocabulary Taboo sheets for an intermediate class.

For my classes, I typically make a Word doc. with 9 text bordered text boxes aligned on it. In each, I’ll put the target vocabulary in a smaller box (or just underlined) at the top, then 4 forbidden taboo words under it. I’ll also include a number of fun words, like Gandalf or banana.

For struggling classes, I’ll change the rules a bit a let them use the taboo words as suggested clues. This lets the teams get more points from actually guessing the words instead of from the other team passing.

When I have large classes, I like to make 4 teams, pair 2 teams together, and give each of the 2 pairs a set of my Taboo cards. I’ll let them keep track of the time and points and float between the games, chiding them for L1 use or maybe whispering clues to a team that is falling far behind.

If you don’t feel like making your own cards, you can easily use the real game. You’ll need to weed out irrelevant cards; Taboo always has a lot of pop culture references that won’t resonate internationally.


Worksheet Wednesday: Kahoot!

For this week’s worksheets, I’m sharing my Kahoot quizzes with you. Do you know Kahoot? If not, it’s worth learning to use. The quizzes are easy to make and even easier to use with your classes. And best of all, the students love it, partly because it’s a fun game, and partly because it lets them use their phones. I think you’ll quickly find that Kahoot quizzes are a great way to assess vocabulary, grammar, and content quickly in class.

If you don’t have time to make a KahootTeachKahoot quiz, you can often find a good one to use for many topics, especially for grammar (much less so for writing, I’ve noticed). Sometimes you will find someone else’s quiz that would be great except for a few errors, or some in-jokes, or L1 stuff from a language unrelated to your learners. In such a case, you can click the ‘duplicate’ button and edit a copy of the quiz to your heart’s content.

Feel free to use or duplicate any of my Kahoots. Most of mine are vocabulary-focused, aimed at target words from our program’s coursebooks. If you find a typo in any of them, please let me know. Thanks, and enjoy!

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