Games, tools and other things…

18-Mar-2011

Surfing the web recently, I came across a few interesting games, tools and activities to help students improve their spelling, vocabulary and use of English. Here are some activities that offer some useful practice your students might enjoy:

Spelling bees

Spelling bees have been popular in the United States for decades and there are many websites that specialize in them. In the UK, The Times newspaper has been running a spelling bee for schools since 2009. Their site is aimed more at native English speakers than English language learners so have a look at Visual Thesaurus’s bee for something that’s a bit easier. For very low-level students you could use Spin and spell instead, which is a variation on the spelling bee theme.

Vocabulary tools and games

As well as having its own spelling bee, Visual Thesaurus has a handy little tool called The Vocab Grabber. This allows you to select any part of a text and create a list of words from it, giving definitions for each of those words. It highlights each instance of the word in the text and also gives you synonyms of the word. You can order the words alphabetically or by relevance to the text.

And if you’re looking for low-level vocabulary activities for your students, try these:

Action verbs is a simple memory game where you watch actions being performed and then select the correct verb to go with each action.

Clothes involves you identifying and selecting items of clothing to wear from a clothes line. You must find and select the right clothes before the time runs out.

There is more of this type of vocabulary practice at http://englishflashgames.blogspot.com/

Use of English

I’ve also managed to track down an activity close to an editor’s heart: proofreading! You can get students to practise their use of English, spelling, capitalization and punctuation, or a combination of all of them with Proofreading Makes Perfect. Students must correct each sentence by following the instruction above it. The first few sentences start off by giving you help but then increase in difficulty as you complete more of them. Make sure you click on ‘Check Answer’ after each sentence. Just type in your name and off you go.

And finally, in Read all about it!, you work for a local newspaper as a trainee reporter and edit personal ads, car ads and news articles by adding adjectives to make them more interesting. For the ads, first select the picture which matches the advert and then choose the adjectives to go in the most appropriate place. For the news articles, you replace negative adjectives with positive ones to correct a film review and sports report.

Enjoy!

Jeremy

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