Games for tablets or mini-whiteboards
Like many English teachers, I’m a big fan of word games. I’m also a big fan of the British TV producer and presenter Richard Osman. The Quiz show ‘Richard Osman’s House of Games’ (ROHoG) has been running on BBC 2 for a couple of years. The basic format is that four media personalities take part in a series of games based around language, logic and/or general knowledge. Most of the games are very simple and accessible and I’d been wondering for a long time if it was possible to translate them to the language classroom.
*Update: Fellow fan @eltplanning uses the ROHoG classic ‘Answer Smash’ in class and has blogged about it here.
Then the Coronavirus crisis occurred and my extra-curricular activities were put on hold. After making the move online with my year-long F2F courses, I was then faced with a new challenge: a summer intensive course from scratch taught via Zoom. To break up the routine of daily online classes, I set out to do at least one different game every day to recycle and use vocabulary presented throughout the course. I’d already tried adapting some of the games in my F2F classes and this gave me the opportunity to see if any of the games worked well in an online context. Huge thanks to my group for being such willing and motivated guinea pigs. This is the first in (I hope) a series of posts to share teacher- and learner-friendly ROHoG game formats which worked in both contexts.
Games for tablets or mini whiteboards.
Here are three games adapted from the ROHoG format which can be used with tablets or mini whiteboards. A blank piece of white paper inside a clear plastic pocket is an easy way to make your own mini whiteboard. If you’re teaching an online class via videoconferencing, the students can hold their boards or pockets up to the camera to play. Give your students advance notice so they can bring or make the mini-whiteboard for the following class.
NB: If using mini-whiteboards, students will also need a tissue or cloth to clean it after each round. Students often have a packet of tissues on them, but if you’re playing in a F2F class, have some extra, just in case.
You Spell Terrible is a game played in pairs which tests both vocabulary knowledge and spelling of ‘problematic’ words.
The Rich List is an individual game, loosely based on the ‘Scattegories‘ board game, where the teacher gets to play too.
Size Matters is a game where learners compete to find the longest possible word within a given category.
I’ve provided instructions for all three games on one downloadable document and, for each game, a link to an example game in ppt format. I’ve chosen vocabulary and lexical sets that correspond to the context I was teaching, but you can use the ppt as a template to adapt to your own teaching situation and the needs of your learners.
You Spell Terrible – example game
The Rich List – example game
Size Matters – example game