Enriching language activities don’t need to be complicated to be useful. Preparing a game for your classroom can be as easy as pulling out a few dice. Here are a few to get you started!
Roll and Write Drills: Practice any spelling or vocabulary list with minimal preparation
Prepare a worksheet with the six six target words in the top columns of a table. Hand each student or pair a die. Students roll to complete the assigned task with the word in the matching box, such as using it in a sentence or writing it out. Students to continue to roll and climb their way down the columns, repeating the task for each box. The goal is to complete all (or some) of the columns in a set time. For controlled practice, move the grid to the board and place students in competing teams.
Download free 6 x 6 boards for WH-questions, modals, past tense and other grammar points.
Ice-breaker questions: Gamify the questions on the first day of class
Take the pressure off personal questions and give the students something to fiddle with as they wait for their turn. Display 6 simple “get to you know” questions on the board, numbered 1-6. Students roll the die to determine which question they answer (in addition to general information like name, major, hometown, etc.)
Expand on this by asking students to write their own 6 questions and work in small groups to roll and answer each other’s questions.
Vocabulary tasks: Speed through vocabulary review with simple tasks
Prepare small cards with target vocabulary words in a bag. On the board, display tasks numbered 1-6, such as “write a synonym” or “explain the meaning in simple English.” In teams, students race to draw a word, roll the die, and complete the task before passing the die to the next team member. The team with the most correct answers wins.
Assign group roles: Use dice to number off students.
In groups, allow students to number off 1-6 (or less, in smaller classes). Whatever the task is (e.g. writing a past tense verb, asking a question with the target grammar, producing a word with the target sound), when a student’s number is rolled, he or she must complete it as fast as possible. The teacher can control this activity from the front of the room and speed up your prompt, or you can give each group their own die to see how many tasks they can complete in a set time.
Alternatively, if students have numbers assigned at the beginning of class, whenever you need to elicit ideas or answers during the lesson, roll the die instead of calling names. This is recommended for classes where over-eager students dominate over shy ones, not for quiet classes where students are reluctant to talk.
Who – What – Where: Randomize a story-telling activity
Prepare a worksheet or display a chart on the board with 6 options for ‘who,’ ‘what,’ and ‘where.’ Ask students for suggestions for main characters, activities, and places for a story, or fill in the chart yourself.
In pairs or small groups, students roll the die three times to find out the story that they have to tell or act out.
Entrance or exit questions: Start or end each class with a question
Prepare 6 questions for reviewing or previewing a topic. As students come into or leave the classroom, they have to roll the die and answer the corresponding question to pass through the door. For a topic recently covered in class, push students into critical thinking with question stems from Bloom’s taxonomy, such as “How would you explain (cross-pollination) to a friend? or “Compare and contrast (pop music in the 60s to pop music now)?” To activate students’ knowledge before a new topic, ask questions like “What do you know about (recycling)?” or “How has (technology) changed in the last 10 years?”
This works well with KWL (Know-Want to Know-Learned) activities.