When teaching online, it is difficult to replicate different aspects of a physical lesson: classroom management, responding to visual clues from students or incorporating classroom games. In today’s post and video, I share five games you can use for your online English classes.

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1. Odd Word Out

This is a popular game that I have used time and time again to help students review vocabulary either at the beginning or end of the lesson. For this activity, you need to create a PowerPoint with five or six words on one page but make sure you make around five to eight pages in total.

You share your PowerPoint page to students and, much like the original version, you get students to discuss their ideas together in small groups. Keep a note of scores with each group and the winning group are those that get the most amount of odd words correct.

2. Kim’s Game

This has been a popular game for classes all around the world. In the original game, you show ten to twelve words on the whiteboard or have a range of props at the front of the classroom. You get students to turn round or place their heads down on their desk and you remove one word or prop. Students have to guess which word or prop has been removed. With the online version, you create a PowerPoint page with either words or images on one.

Next, duplicate the PowerPoint page and remove one word or image. Continue duplicating the next page and removing the word or image until there is nothing left. You share your PowerPoint to students, then turn off screen sharing, go to the next page and then share. Students have to type the word or describe the image that has been removed in the chat box. This is a great game for students to review vocabulary or practise describing images.

3. Twenty Questions

I have used this popular game many times in the past with my students in a physical classroom. However, this requires a bit of preparation before starting the online lesson. Prior to starting your online lesson, make a list of your students and add a list of nouns next to each student. It is best to use nouns such as jobs, people or objects.

Tell students that you will be sending a word privately to each student. They should not disclose this word to anyone else. Send the word to the first student, and then tell the other students that they must ask the other student a closed question: “Do you …?”, “Are you …?”, etc. It is best to demonstrate the task to students and make sure you nominate students to ask their closed question. The student who has their secret word can only answer with “Yes” and “No”.

Make sure you mute all students and unmute one to ask their question. The students only have an opportunity to ask twenty questions until they guess the secret word.

4. Alphabet Lists

For Alphabet Lists, in a physical classroom, you get two groups of students up in a line facing the whiteboard. You give a topic to the two groups of students and they must write their ideas in alphabetical order. Say you have a topic such as fruit, students could write ‘Apple’, ‘Banana’, ‘Cherry’, etc.

In an online environment, you need to create two Google Documents – one for each team. Share the corresponding link to each corresponding group, but make sure that they have privileges to edit the document. Tell the group of students that you are going to tell them a topic and they must complete the task by writing as many words in alphabetical order as possible in the corresponding Google Document.

Give each group a two or three minute time limit to complete the task. After two or three minutes, you check which group has the most amount of words suggested in their document. Award a point for each correct suggestion and the team with the most amount of points are the winners.

5. Taboo

This is a great task for students to get students communicating and describing words. In a physical classroom, students have to describe a word but are unable to say particular words while the other students guess the particular word. For example, the word could be ‘Winter’ and taboo words (those that students cannot say) could include ‘cold’, ‘snow’ or ‘season’.

It can be a fun activity for students trying to explain words but unable to use those taboo words. In an online environment, you prepare a list of words and taboo words. Ideally one for each student and then share one privately to a student. They must then describe the word to the rest of the students and the other students listening must suggest their answers in the chat box.

This activity is a great opportunity to review vocabulary either from the previous lesson at the beginning of class or at the end of a particular lesson.

What are your favourite online games and activities that you enjoy incorporating in your remote lessons?