I have many “Best” lists related to using online games with English Language Learners, and you can find them all at A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Learning Games.
I’ve also written a lot and published a number of posts and resources related to playing non-online games in the classroom, but just realized I had never brought them all together in one place.
Here they are (feel free to offer more suggestions!):
Here are two excerpts from our book on teaching ELLs:
Awhile back, I invited ESL teachers to send in their favorite games and posted them:
In Pursuit of the Excellent Game is an excellent piece from TESOL on using games with ELL’s.
Articles on TEFL games is by Alex Case.
Humanising Language Teaching is one of my favorite online journals, and they’ve just published the newest issue. There’s always a lot of good stuff in it. I’d like to highlight a very useful article titled “Why Use Games in the Language Classroom?” by Adam Simpson (you can read his blog here). The article makes a number of good points and points to helpful research. It’s definitely worth reading.
The nine golden rules of using games in the language classroom is also by Adam Simpson.
3 fun ways of incorporating games into beginner level classes is by Adam Simpson.
A homemade revision game is by Sandy Millin.
Activate – Games for Learning American English is from the American English site of the U.S. Department of State. It’s a useful and free downloadable book.
Games in the language classroom: the When & the How is by Adam Simpson.
The Rolling Question Game is from The EFL Smart Blog.
How well do you know your friend? (Adapting the newlywed game for WL class) is a fun idea for a speaking activity.
A low-prep, low-tech, effective game for revision is from A Hive of Activities.
Artistically Challenged Pictionary is from Carissa Peck.
Whiteboard Soccer is from David Deubelbeiss. I’m adding it to the same list.
My ELT Rambles shares a number of good classroom games.
Using 80s gameshows to teach languages is from The Guardian.
3 great games for verb tense review is by Adam Simpson.
Most people, including ESL/ELT teachers, are familiar with the game Pictionary. It’s a great language-learning activity.
If you ever want to show other teachers or students a video modeling the activity, Jimmy Fallon has you covered:
— Teaching English (@TeachingEnglish) August 28, 2014
Kaboom! The Explosive Team Review Game (With an added twist…) and Speaking Bingo are both from Lizzie Pinard.
THE REAL TRICK: TURNING A TEST INTO A GAME is from tekhnologic.
Free e-book: Using Games in the Language Classroom is from Adam Simpson.
Revision With Games comes from Cristina Skybox.
Word Links: A Vocabulary Game is from tekhnologic.
Just Google It is a list and description of fun Google-related games. It’s from Elt-Cation.
Games for the language classroom: Blockbusters is by Adam Simpson.
Games for the language classroom: Who wants to be a millionaire is another great post by Adam Simpson.
I’ve shared a number of games Jimmy Fallon has played on his show and how they could be applicable to the ELL classroom. Now, here’s one from a different show, The Late Late Show with James Corden, who models how “Guess Who?” could also be used as a language development activity. I’m adding this to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom.
Russel Tarr has a nice blog called Tarr’s Toolbox where he shares some very good classroom strategies. One that I had never thought of before was using a Venn Diagram as a classroom game. A quick description of it is that the teacher draws a Venn Diagram on the board, numbers the areas, and has students complete it in groups or on their own. Then, the teacher calls out the zone and the first student group with a correct answer gets points. I think it could be modified in a number of ways, including have groups with small whiteboards and everyone having an opportunity to answer but, one way or another, it’s a great way to utilize the higher-order thinking concept of categorization in a game format.
Having Fun With Tearable Sentences is from tekhnologic and suggests a lot of neat variations to the popular ESL “Messenger and Scribe” game.
Spelling doesn’t have to mean Test is from Anglo Teachers.
Teaching Games is a nice collection of language-learning…games.
5 of My Favorite English Games for ESL Students is from Hub Pages.
Not Hangman Again is a PDF full of classroom games, shared by the British Council.
Spelling races with mini-whiteboards is from ELT Planning.
1 WORKSHEET – 10 GAMES is by SVETLANA KANDYBOVICH.
— TeachingEnglish (@TeachingEnglish) November 11, 2016
Here’s another one Jimmy Fallon game that might have potential. In this version, guest have five seconds to describe a movie and the other has to guess the title. Since our ELLs have vastly different background knowledge, I doubt if using movies or many other topics would work. However, you could use it as an end-of-unit activity (for example, after studying about food) and apply to the game to those topics:
Say the Same Thing has potential as a language-learning game.
Circle Games is from the British Council.
Ss loved this vocabulary game! Roll the 🎲to determine which word to use. 11 and 12 means you have to pick 2 words to use together. pic.twitter.com/fuxIgQEnSn
— Katie Toppel, Ed.D. (@Toppel_ELD) April 13, 2017
Adapting your go-to games: backs to the board is by Mike Astbury.
PLAY & LEARN is from ELT-Cation. It shares a nice list of games.
Games to play with the word study: (a) Wordo – write selection of words on the whiteboard and have students practice spelling/printing on a game board (I make 9 squares for primary and 12 squares for higher grades). I throw a paper ball and hit words on the board.
— Megan Chan (@meg_EAL) September 11, 2018
Thank you @Toppel_ELD for the great idea! I modified the game to review school tool vocabulary with my brand new newcomers. I can’t wait to adapt for other language lessons! pic.twitter.com/me0880i0Ru
— Meg Hermstein (@MegHerme1229) March 29, 2019
Fred Jones has a good list of classroom games.
TELEPHONE DICTATION: A TWIST ON RUNNING DICTATION is from Fun For Spanish.
This new skit from Saturday Night Live is a little off-color, but I thought the game idea of “What’s Wrong With This Picture” was a good one that could be used with English Language Learners. Teachers could find or draw their own (or use the images in this video) and/or have students draw ones that they could use to challenge their classmates. Students could say or write their responses. It’s a “take” on the use of hidden images (see The Best “I Spy” (Hidden Object) Games For Vocabulary Development):
Six collaborative games for competitive English language classrooms is from The British Council.
Games4ESL is a neat YouTube video with…videos that can be used as games.