Good Wordgames as warmers / fillers or coolers from your English class.

In need of a quick warmer / filler or cooler for a lesson? Don’t turn your nose up at word games, they are quick, easy and give students vital spelling and word practice.

Make words from these letters
This is an old favourite. Find a long word like ‘democracy’ and draw all the letters in a box like this:

d r c
a e o
c y m

Now get students to make as many words as they can from only these letters. You can use almost any long word you like

Make sentences from this box
Just the same as the above, but rather than using letters you use words and get students to make sentences. Like this:

jumped fox fence fit because
to lazy he wanted get
the over white The brown

The sentence is :  The lazy brown fox jumped over the white fence because he wanted to get fit.

Put the sentences in the correct order
Another old favourite is putting words in the right order in a sentence. Even though this quite dry and boring -lots of language students, especially those who use a different written script, need to practise their handwriting – even just forming the letters. An activity like this allows students to do this as well as testing their sentence skills.

Here’s my sample PowerPoint for arranging mixed up sentences, save it and change the words to whatever you like

Online wordgames to show on your IAWB
Of course, the internet is abound with word games you can play in your browser. Send these to students as homework, play them in the computer room (in pairs is best) or play them together in the classroom on the interactive whiteboard or projector.

BBC Skillswise – many great word games here

Blocks with Letters on 3 – Amazing game to play with the class

Bookworm – make words from letters – very nice –

Using Board Games with your language students

Playing a board game is fun and requires more than a little bit of language. You have to explain the rules, give advice on how to play, ask for tips, encourage, cheat, discuss and generally chat while you play. All the perfect ingredients for a language activity that might not be good for a full class, but might be great to fill a tutorial hour with a small group or engage an ‘English Conversation Club’. Here are my best board games to play with your students

The king of board games where player make words to score points. This has the added bonus of already ‘looking like’ it will be good for learning English. Get students to play together and allow them to use a dictionary to help them – it’s not cheating!
The world conquest game is legendary. Simple, fierce and easy to learn, it will have your students engaged straight away. Use the goal cards with higher level students to encouarage sneaky tactics.

Complex, iconic and involved. What better way to learn a language than to engage in trade? Encourage students to make deals with each other by buying and selling the properties they have. Also, you must use the ‘Free Parking Rule’ – this puts lots more cash up for grabs.

Card Games
Pontoon (or twenty one) – Quick game to encourage speculation and guessing. Lots of opportunity for fun and laughs, good for lower level students who need to practise numbers.

Games I wouldn’t recommend
Chess – too much thinking and not enough chatting. It’s a bit like boxing in that both players just want to crush each other – not good for a friendly language activity.

Poker – again, too much frowning and not enough chatting.

Purely dice games like snakes and ladders or ludo, there’s no chance to speak here.

Anyone know any other good board games to play? Or can I hear my voice echoing round an empty virtual hall?