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The Best Learning Games For Intermediate English Language Learners

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I have about twenty separate “The Best…” lists related to games. You can see them all by going to “The Best…” page on this blog and scrolling down to “Games.”

But, as I explained in yesterday’s post, The Best Ways For English Language Learners To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly, we have some logistical issues at school coming up next week, so I’m using the opportunity to identify “The Best of the Best” from various lists so students can have something different to do.

In order to make it on this list, games had to be very simple to play, be accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners, be engaging, provide a superior language-learning opportunity and offer the chance to learn additional content knowledge, too. I didn’t want to include many of the learning games that had only specific subject content, though, since it would be important for players to have some prior knowledge to get the most out of them, and I’m not sure many of my students have it.

That said, after spending a fair amount of time reviewing all the games on my lists, the conclusion I came to was quite surprising to me.

I’ve ended up choosing only one particular game and one previous entire game-related “The Best…” list — that’s all.

The one particular game that I like so much is this one:

Gut Instinct is from the BBC. It has questions divided into three categories — English, Math and Science, and is accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners, and maybe even Early Intermediates. But the exciting feature of the game is that students can super-easily create their own virtual “rooms” for between two-and-thirty people where they can compete with their peers. All they have to do is all type in the name of their room (or “league”), choose their avatar and nickname, and the game begins.

The previous “The Best..” like that I like so much is:

The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories

Most of the games on that list just seem superior on so many levels to many of the games on other “The Best…” lists. They seem to provide many opportunities for higher-order thinking, language-learning, and for gaining accessible content knowledge.

Let me know what you think of what — to me, at least — is very surprising content for this “The Best…” list. I had expected it to be far longer.

I’ve previous posted about “Turn-O-Phrase,” a game where you are shown images that give hints to common English phrases, and you need to identify that words that would go along with them. You can also get hints. I had two concerns about the game, though — one, in order to play it, you had to login with a Facebook or Twitter account (and that was going to rule out having students play it at schools where those sites were blocked) and, two, users weren’t able to create their phrases and turn them into games. Well, Ilya Bagrak, the site’s creator, has now responded to both of those concerns. As of today, users can create an account only using their email, and players can also create their own phrases. Creation couldn’t be made easier — think of a phrase, type the words in, representative images automatically appear, and pick which ones you want as clues — you’re done!

R U Revising lets you answer your choice of English, Math, or Science questions. It has separate links to versions for each subject, so the link here is to the main game page. It’s particularly nice for English Language Learners because it provides audio support for the text.

Learn English Teens has some particularly good games.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. Larry, the Turn O Phrase requires a Login using Facebook, and thus I give permission to access my list of friends, etc. I’d rather not do that. Guess I need to know how to evaluate these App conditions!
    Turn O Phrase looks like fun, too.

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