ESL PowerPoint Games

Written by riccardo giovanniello
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Playing classroom games is a fun and engaging way to practice the fundamentals of the English language. The PowerPoint software from Microsoft provides a tool to help keep students interested in the games while allowing teachers to create quick and easy game templates. The software is ideal for reviewing recent lessons and to reinforce the many aspects of studying English.

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Comprehension Games

Jeopardy-style quiz games will help students develop their comprehension skills in English. Create a series of questions (or answers to keep with the TV game show) that pertain to recent lessons. In PowerPoint, create a simple grid pattern with the questions filling the tiles, with harder questions worth a higher point value. Keep the categories for each set of questions pertinent to the lessons; for example, "What fruit is long and yellow?" is a suitable question if the lecture was based on fruits and vegetables. Keep the difficulty equal to the class level.

Past, Present and Future Tense Games

Tenses can be tricky, especially with irregular verbs. To practice this skill, play a PowerPoint Memory or Match game. Create a grid with 20 to 30 tiles. Think of 10 to 15 verbs and randomly place them in the grids. Include one or two irregular verbs, such as "go" to increase the difficulty. Then, insert either the past or future tense of that word elsewhere on the grid. PowerPoint allows you to cover up the words and reveal them in a click of a mouse. Students must then choose tiles and match the present tense with either the past or future tense of the word.

Vocabulary Games

Building vocabulary takes time, but playing games can speed things up while entertaining the class. Create a template in PowerPoint similar to that of the board game Taboo: Hide five or six words behind coloured blocks on the screen. Allow only one student to see the computer screen and reveal the first word. The student then has to describe the word entirely in English and without gestures. The student's team attempts to guess the word; for example, if the word is "hospital," the student may say, "Doctors and nurses work in this building." Once the word is guessed, reveal the second word. Give the students one minute to guess as many words as they can.

Grammar Games

To help develop grammar skills, create fill-in-the-blank sentences with one missing word in each. Make the missing word have only one solution. For example, "I am so hungry. I haven't eaten all day." Replace "eaten" with a blank spot. The students have to guess what the missing word is; in this situation, the students will become familiar with the past participle of the verb "to eat." For more advanced classes, have the students create the sentences. Or you can have the missing word be an adjective unique to a specific object. Use previous lesson plans as a basis for the sentences.

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