We play a lot of games in my classes to work on building form-meaning associations, both for vocabulary and for grammar. One of the things I've been having trouble with is coming up with fresh ways to work on these things because if I do the same games over and over students get bored and stop participating, so I'm thrilled to have learned about new game types in the last year or so. Here's what I'm using right now:
- Bingo: I use this more at the beginning of the unit when I want students to hear a lot of repetitions of how the words are pronounced. I use the site bingobaker.com and post the game links in Canvas, and then students use digital bingo cards. This is a huge improvement over my old paper bingo cards since I no longer have to pass cards and bingo dots.
- Quizlet live: There's team mode and solo mode. This is pretty quick so it's a good activity when we don't have a lot of time, and in team mode, it's good when I want students to get up and move around a little.
- Gimkit: My students love Gimkit. There are a ton of different games, so it's easy to change it up so it doesn't get boring, and the games are so compelling (I'm looking at you, Fishtopia) that I frequently hop on and play because it's fun. There's also an option to assign a set (called a kit) as homework.
- Blooket: My students also love Blooket. Like Gimkit, there are a lot of different game modes so it's easy to change it up so students don't get bored, and you can also assign some game modes as homework.
- I started using NearPod to do listen and draw activities. I also have a class set of whiteboards, but I seem to get better engagement when students are drawing on their Chromebooks and they can see their work and their classmates' work on the screen. For our clothing unit, I might describe an outfit and have them draw it, and for our health and hygiene unit, I describe monsters and have them draw the monsters to work on body part vocabulary.
I used to use pictionary and Go Fish a lot more, but found that it was harder to keep students on task so the time wasn't always well spent. I still do them occasionally to shake things up, but not regularly anymore.
One more activity that I use to work on numbers is a simple number guessing game. I put useful phrases on the board (mucho más, mucho menos, un poco más, un poco menos) and then write down a number within a given range on a small whiteboard. I have students try to guess the number until they get it, and then put them to work in their own groups doing the same thing. I have them write down their number on a little white board to make sure that they're not messing with their classmates, and then they work in groups of 2-4 to guess each other's numbers. It's simple, but students seem to enjoy it and it's an activity that they can do entirely in Spanish.
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