As many of us are making the transition from in-person to online teaching, it can be hard to accommadate some of the classroom activities in the digital space. Certain language activitites involve moving around the classroom, passing around a piece of paper, writing on the chalkboard, and touching objects - all things which are incredibly hard to translate into an online teaching environment. At the same time, fun is a huge part of language learning! It keeps our students motivated (at any age!) and helps to make students more comfortable with experimentation. In this article, we've rounded up some great resources for fun teaching games for teaching languages online! If you have any great tips, feel free to share them in the comments below!
Travel the world with your students with Geo-Guessing games! Try out Random Street View to automatically load a random image of Google Street View on Google Maps (you can also select specific images on Google Maps if you want your students to "visit" a specific location). Ask your students to describe what they see using recent vocabulary words. Then ask them to guess where they are in the world and to justify their guess!
You can take your class to explore museum collections from all around the world using Google Arts & Culture. Pick a museum, an artist, or an artistic movement and ask your students to find and describe their favourite image. Create a scavenger hunt, or ask your students to find art or historical landmarks from their own community and to "guide" your class through an exploration. Or, if you and your class are feeling extra creative, get them to describe a painting to the class. Everyone at home will try to draw it based on the description alone and then compare your drawings to the original masterpiece.
(Tip: You can also play a variation on this game where you ask your students to describe a room in their house and everyone will draw a map of the room. It's a great way to practice prepositions!)
Get your students working with words with online crossword puzzles! There are lots of great resources to make your own crosswords. Crossword Labs is one great tool for building your own crossword puzzles or for using pre-existing puzzles. Crossword puzzles are a great way to get students to practice their reasoning and spelling - and also a great way to enjoy some quiet time in your online classroom!
This article from Bridge Universe offers a great list of ESL games for online teaching which involve little preparation. Any language teacher knows a great set of low-prep games are essential for a language classroom to wind down after a difficult lesson, or to fill in a little free time when your students got through the material faster than expected. The list includes classic games like Pictionary and Hidden Objects, as well as some fun new ideas like Tic-Tac-Toe 2.0!
Baaboozle is a tool that allows you to search and create games to share with your students. Looking for something flashier than the Zoom whiteboard? These games incorporate images and slideshows. There is a free plan and a paid plan depending on the features you want to access. If you're feeling like getting a little creative and looking to invest a little more prep time into your games, this could be a neat option for you to check out!
Pop quizzes don't have to be a source of anxiety - they can also be a fun activity in class! Think of pub quiz nights, where people test their knowledge for the sheer pleasure of playing a game together. Now there are many apps which exist to help you create fast, fun, interactive quizzes to keep your students guessing. Kahoot! is a great example of a free quiz app which allows you to design quizzes for your students. Multiple choice, true or false, fill in the blank and more. This app allows your students to play live during class, but also allows you to create quizzes for your students to complete at their own pace for homework.
If you are a teacher, we here at Demiks also offer a free teacher app which allows you to create quick quizzes for distance learning to ensure your students are picking up on the concepts from your classroom. If you have any great games for teaching online you want to add to the conversation, let us know! If you are making the transition to teaching online and have any questions about how to manage and grow your online teaching business, school management software, booking Zoom lessons with your students, or marketing your online lessons, feel free to reach out to us and we'd be happy to help you out!
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