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Make vocabulary workshop fun and engaging using different games and activities that will keep students engaged and invested in learning! Below are games and activities that I have been using in my English class with available PowerPoint templates to give you an idea how they work. I hope you would find them useful in your class.
Ready-to-play games, printables and engaging projects are available at the Store.
Vocabulary Workshop Activities and Games
This is a quick, no-prep vocabulary review game. Use the PowerPoint to show the winning pattern for the round. Students can make the grid and write the vocabulary words on their notebook or you may use the BINGO card template.
Game Type: Individual
This game is based off of the game BOGGLE in which players attempt to find words in sequences of adjacent letters.
The purpose of the game is to discover as many words as possible within a jumbled square of twenty five randomly selected letters. A valid word can only be formed if each letter is contiguous (i.e. side-by-side, above or below, or on the diagonal) with the next, and no letter position can be used more than once in any given word.
Game Type: Individual, Pair, GroupDownload Boggle (4182 downloads)
Break the ice and warm up vocabulary workshop with this funny brain teasers which is one of vocabulary activities enjoyed by kids and all ages! You can also use this as a warm up for a full lesson or maybe to fill in the remaining time at the end of class. Brain teasers are good to stimulate students to think quick and critically!
Game Type: Individual, TeamDownload Brain Teasers (9151 downloads)
This is like a Hot Seat 2.0 game where the person in the hot seat has to guess what’s behind him. This time however, they need to guess as many words as they can from a chosen category within a limited period of time! Fun right?!
Game Type: Pair, GroupDownload Categories Guessing Game (11417 downloads)
In this simple activity, students are shown a word, phrase or sentence that disappears in 2 seconds! They need to remember what they saw and write them down on a mini-whiteboard or paper. The fastest team to show the correct answer wins the round.
Game Type: Individual, TeamDownload Disappearing Words (6548 downloads)
Students are shown different pictures and they need to take the first letter from each picture to form the mystery word. This is a fun activity that tests students vocabulary!
Game Type: Individual, TeamDownload First Letter Game (4198 downloads)
The teacher calls out a student to give 5 things on a given category in 30 seconds! This is one of the best ESL vocabulary activities for quickly reviewing the lesson.
Game Type: IndividualDownload Give Me Five (6211 downloads)
Each team makes a line near the board, then one student per team comes up to the white board and writes a word. The next student has to use the last letter of the word on the board to make another word. At the end of the game, the team with the longest word snake with all the words joined up wins the game.
Game Type: TeamDownload Word Snake (2465 downloads)
The teacher slowly removes the squares while students take turn guessing what is the picture hidden behind it. The student who guesses the right word wins the game.
Game Type: IndividualDownload Hidden Pictures (3432 downloads)
One student will help the person in the “hot seat” to guess the secret image behind him/her before the time runs out! This is a classic way to develop word association and description.
Game Type: Pair, TeamDownload Hot Seat (6217 downloads)
This is a matching type activity where each team is given a set of cards. Students spread out the cards on the table face down and take turns picking up a card and finding its pair.
Game Type: TeamDownload Pelmanism (1734 downloads)
This is a classic pair work where one student is the runner and the other is the writer. The runner reads the sentence posted in the classroom walls and runs back to the writer and dictate the message. This is a really fun and loud activity that students will enjoy!
Game Type: PairDownload Running Dictation (3569 downloads)
Students form a group of four and number themselves from 1-4. Students will all “sleep” by putting their heads down. When they hear the teacher calls their own number, they will “wake up” and have to remember what they see. After 4 rounds, everyone “wakes up” and puts the word or sentence together.
Game Type: TeamDownload Sleeping Pandas (2949 downloads)
A tongue twister is a series of words or sounds that are usually repetitive and are difficult to pronounce quickly and correctly. Most English language teachers use tongue twisters to develop the students pronunciation and accent. Sometimes, we use tongue twisters just for the sheer fun of doing it. I often get my students to memorize this and ask them to say it out loud in class as a group and in pairs.
Game Type: Individual, Pair, GroupDownload Tongue Twisters (56926 downloads)
One of the most fun vocabulary workshop activities where students guess the mystery word based on two or three pictures. The pictures are the clue to the puzzle so the students must be able to identify them first, then combine the words to get the answer. For example, the pictures of an “ice” and a letter “T” will create the word “iced tea” if combined.
Game Type: Individual, TeamDownload Visual Puzzles (22470 downloads)
There are many types of word puzzles for all ages including adults! I like the fact that I can have a number of different unique word puzzles created to printout on the same topic. So when we are studying a topic in English, say “Family and Friends”, I can print out six different sets then split the class into six groups and give them each a unique puzzle to solve.
You can let the students (in their groups) create word puzzles themselves for their classmates to solve. Assign each group their “mission” and explain the kind of puzzle they should make online. They have to send you the digital copy at the end of the lesson so you could produce enough copies for the rest of the class. During vocabulary workshop, the group that created the puzzles take the center stage and discuss the answers.Download Vocabulary Puzzle Activity (1511 downloads)
Speaking Activities and Games
This activity is based on a system designed by Edward de Bono with an ESL twist. Basically, 6 Thinking Hats is a tool for group discussion and individual thinking involving 6 colored hats . Just like de Bono’s idea, each color represents a mode of thinking which allows the students to expand their views on a particular thing or issue. I love this speaking task because it helps students to think logically and become better speakers.
Activity Type: Group
Students will go around the classroom asking and answering questions. After they have asked and answered, they will shake hands. The zombie will infect the other student by secretly scratching the inside part of the other student’s hands.
Can students find the safe zone before it’s too late? Or will zombies take over the world? Download this super engaging and fun conversation game now!Download Secret Zombie Conversation Game (3029 downloads)
This conversation activity is about student preference. Students are given a question that starts with “Would you rather…” followed by two equally good or equally bad options. For example, “Would you rather be beautiful but poor or less attractive (ugly) but rich?” Answering “neither” or “both” is against the rules so students must choose 1 and justify their answer. Sometimes, students’ answers will crack you up! One student said that she’d rather be rich but ugly because if she’s rich, she could afford plastic surgery!
Activity Type: PairDownload Would You Rather (2186 downloads)
This is a drill conversation activity where you pair your students up to practice the dialogue you show on the screen. Simply show your slide and have students read out loud. After two rounds, you will start deleting words in the dialogue and replace it with blanks. Do this in sequence until the entire dialogue is just a series of blanks.
Activity Type: PairDownload Missing Dialogue (2767 downloads)
More Vocabulary Workshop Activities and Games
Anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another word. In this game, students work in teams to identify the original words of the 1. anagrams and 2. jumbled words.
The category is Food.
Activity Type: Individual, Group
This is a Family Feud-style game where teams need to come up with top 5 popular answers for each question-survey. Each question is student-friendly and appropriate for any level!
Activity Type: Group
These are team games I made in simple PowerPoint presentations. Each game can take about 30 to 50 minutes or more depending on your pace. This is great as time-fillers or when you want to give your kids a little break from the usual routine!
Activity Type: Group
Scrabble is a great game for teaching and learning vocabulary. These Giant Scrabble Letter printables can be used for just about anything: bulletin boards, word activities or practice games!
Activity Type: Individual, Group
This printable product contains editable pictionary word cards that you can laminate for long term use! Each card has up to 7 words (that’s 700 words total!) with varying points depending on the level of difficulty! These lists are great and simple enough for multilevel classes!
Activity Type: Pair, Group
English Language Arts Creative Projects & Activities
This is a template that closely resembles Facebook website. Have individual students or pairs choose a character or historical figure to research and fill in the pages for. Students can edit information in the template.
Students will love this fun yet challenging Greek Mythology test prep/end of the year review game. It can be played with teams or as an individual- points or no points.
This Growth Mindset bulletin board is something I always refer to all year with my students to remind them to use growth statements while they are working or to instill good learning behaviors and positive attitudes.
This printable package includes 2 different Instagram templates: 1 large Instagram post with a comment section; and 1 smaller posts for a series of photos. Let students create their Instagram post directly in a word processing document or hand out the blank templates to have them draw their photos.