For a great selection of games that popped up on, click on the MJ’s TPRS page link (in the sidebar to the right) and then click on “Games from Jeremy” at the top of the page.  (or click here)

I can see how it would be really easy to use the “Caramba” game as a way to get kids to re-read a story! You could just throw sentences up for translation, mixed with individual words, from any story you’ve used lately!!

And I love the idea of projecting a crossword onto the white board and having different teams color in the answers. I guess those of you with Smartboards could really get going on that one, eh?

It’s a very helpful thing to have a bunch of new games at this time of the year. I don’t play too often, because I want to make input king in my room. But kids love to play games, and so any time one will give a chance for more input, that’s great. And once in a while, it’s nice to assess their output ability through a game.


5 responses to “Games

  1. A variation of the crossword game was in a TPR book (I forget whether Asher’s or Garcia’s.) You post a single word and then let the students add to it crossword style for a specific period of time in different colors. And when time’s up, the group with the most letters or words wins.

    What kinds of clues do you use for your crosswords? It seems as if making them would take a lot of time. Do you use translations? Could I see a sample?


  2. I went to

    Click on user puzzles, and then Russian, look for Whaley under the Russian ones…you’ll see that I just did translations. I like your idea too!

    These took VERY little time…just type in the word and the clue, and then hit submit or whatever the key is and the crossword is up for you. I tried to stay under about 20 so that the clues and the crossword would all show up on my white board.


  3. And here’s a big long posting from the yahoo group files with a bunch of games from Kristy Placido. I like the emphasis on games that take no teacher prep. But it’s also good to remember that games generally don’t allow much CI…they are, however, good for brain breaks.

    This is a Kristy Placido posting from the Yahoo TPRS files.

    Ideas from the 5-day lesson plan along with other output activities
    are always good things to do to add some variety to your class.

    Reading together, in pairs, alone, Kindergarten Day (where you read a
    children’s book in the TL to your students as a Kindergarten teacher
    would – asking questions, etc.), quizzes, games, discussions,
    freewrites, videos, songs, taped listening activities (I use a bunch
    from Dime Dos just so that they can hear other people’s voices), etc.

    I try to do something for 5-10 mins (sometimes more) a day along with
    the story to add variety. My biggest problem is that I get stuck in a
    rut and forget to add different things in all of the time. You can
    also vary how your kids do retells – and can even make a game out of
    it by using mini-whiteboards and the like. Someone posted a “game”
    retell where kids get in pairs with a pencil/pen in between them. The
    teacher says a statement from the story. It it’s true, the first one
    to grab the pencil gets a point. If it’s false and they grab the
    pencil, I think that they lose 2 points. Quick, fun, no prep.

    Here are some games that I have collected from the list, but there are
    way more than this in the archives too (gazillions:). Some didn’t get
    the names attached, so sorry I can’t recognize who contributed them!
    I haven’t played all of them, but try them out – I’m sure they are fun!

    Carmen 🙂

    However, we did play a competitive spelling game with large cutouts of
    the alphabet. I probably got this game from the list- I don’t recall.
    Two teams, each member holds a large card with a letter on it. The
    teams face each other (you need a large space for this). I say a
    vocabulary word. The first team to line up with their letters so that
    they spell the word correctly wins. You could have them then spell
    their word aloud if you wanted to check their recall of the alphabet.

    A similar game, taught to us by our German friends, is to use 8
    letters. Have two of them tied together on each top corner with yarn.
    Each member of a team wears the letters-one in front and one in back.
    When they teacher/student gives the word, the first team to get their
    members in the correct order with the correct letter, wins a point. Of
    course, you have to plan ahead so that all of your words use four of
    these eight letters. Anyway, the kids enjoyed it. We played it in
    Germany as a part of our final night party.
    Marty Christopher

    I wanted to share 2 quick games that I use
    during the retell portion of the PMS to add some

    The first one is a version of Tic-Tac-Toe:
    Students work in pairs and one student draws a grid.
    One student is “X” and the other is “O”.
    I will then ask a question for player “X” about the
    story in Spanish – What is the boy’s name?
    Player “X” has 5 seconds to quickly jot down the
    I count “uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco” and then I
    give the correct answer in Spanish.
    If player “X” wrote down the correct answer, he/she
    can mark an “X” on the grid.
    If they got it wrong then they do not get to mark
    Then the next question is for player “O” and play
    continues in that way until I get through the story or
    until someone wins.

    The other game is very similar except that I use small
    white boards. I put the class into 4 teams (because I
    only bought 4 white boards at Target). Then I ask a
    question about the story and the first team to hold up
    their white board with the correct answer on it in
    Spanish gets a point for their team. The first team
    to get five points wins.

    I like these games for a couple of reasons 1 )no
    teacher preparation 2)they don’t take up much time at
    all and 3) the kids really like to play them
    Kristi Krupa Griffith

    From: Matthew Craig
    Subject: Fun & Games: Pelota Diez

    Hola Listeros,

    I know the school year is over for many of you but you might be
    interested in
    this for future fun & games. I call it Pelota Diez, Ten ball. It’s a
    really fun
    way to review vocabulary.

    What you need:

    – The vocabulary you want to review
    – A tennis ball
    – A plastic stackable file crate ? the kind you can put hanging files in.
    – A short, sturdy plastic cup big enough for the tennis ball to fit
    in. I use
    one of those kindergarten paint cups.
    – A wad of “ticky tac” or “blue tac” ? that sticky plastic stuff for
    putting up

    Stick the plastic cup, centered in the bottom of the plastic crate
    using the
    wad of ticky tac. Put the crate against the wall at the front of the
    room and
    mark a free throw line on the floor about 10-15 feet away. Now You?re
    ready to

    The object of the game is to earn points for the team by answering review

    Divide the class into 4 groups. Have each group pick a name for their
    team. Within the teams, the students take turns being the “answerer.”
    Only the answerer can answer the questions. Have all the answerers
    stand up and ask a question, calling on the first answerer who raises
    his hand. Once you call on him, he has 5 seconds to answer. I allow
    the team members to help the answerer, but only the answerer can
    respond. I don’t accept answers from anyone else in the group.

    What makes the game fun is that the person who gets the question right
    not only gets a point for the team but also gets to shoot for extra
    points with the tennis ball from the free throw line. If the ball goes
    in the crate, the team gets one extra point. If it goes in the
    cup?¡DIEZ PUNTOS! Thus the name, Pelota Diez — Ten ball. The students
    love this game. Have fun with it.

    Matthew Craig
    Stowe Elementary
    Stowe, VT

    They would also write these 2 words on index cards, with their English
    meaning. Two or three times a week we would play the following game
    with this growing stack of their words: They would team off into
    pairs. Each pair would have a one-minute turn. When the timer starts,
    one partner quickly pulls a card, reads the word in Spanish and the
    other partner tries to guess the meaning. The one holding the card
    can give clues in Spanish to make his partner say the correct word.
    If they are spending too much time on a word, the guessing partner
    says in Spanish: “Pass” and the card goes into the -1 point pile.
    Meanwhile, the correctly translated ones go into the +2 pile. When the
    minute is up, they count up their score & we keep track on the board.
    On to the next pair’s turn, and so on. My AP kids really liked this
    way of playing with new words and they’d love it when a card had THEIR
    word, because they would remember THEIR words more easily than their
    classmates’ words.

    Here’s a game that has students using the language in a context. I
    have had lots of success with this in French II but I’m hoping that as
    I get good a TPR-S it’ll be useable in French I. It’s called
    “Luckily, Unluckily.” (my friends and I used to “play” this while
    waiting for the bus in HS) Once you have a simple scenario (Four kids
    were waiting for the bus), you alternate sentences starting with
    “luckily” and “unluckily” and make up a funny story. For instance:

    Four kids were waiting for the bus.
    Luckily, the bus came.
    Unluckily, the bus driver was in a bad mood.
    Luckily, he turned on the radio.
    Unluckily, it was the country station.
    Luckily, the bus got to school quickly.
    Unluckily, there was a dragon on the front steps of
    the school.
    Luckily, it was not a fire-breathing dragon.
    Unluckily, it was a meat-eating dragon.
    Luckily, the kids ran fast!

    You always have to alternate and it always has to be only one sentence
    at a time. It can go on forever. With some groups we go around in a
    circle. With others, whoever has a good idea for the next sentence
    can go, and the others listen. I have also done a written version
    where we sat in a circle and everyone started the story with
    themselves as the main character (There once was a boy/girl named ___
    ). Then we passed them around the circle, adding sentences, and they
    had a blast reading the stories about them at the end.

    Emily La Fave

    P.S. Toughen it up by giving them 3 vocabulary words and specifying
    that they must use one of them in each additional sentence. Not a lot
    of difference between doing that and milking a PMS, I think.

    Another game that my colleague told me to do is “human bingo”. It
    seemed so chaotic to me but I have to admit, the kids LOVE it. Set up
    your chairs 4 x 4. Then you can ask FL to Eng or vice-versa. The
    first to “pop up” with the answer gets the chance to answer. The
    first row to “bingo” wins…whatever: extra credit, candy!! They
    absolutely love it. It can be played as a “filler”, a last 5 mins of
    class. They beg to play it. I was shocked. So I did play that a few
    times, but other than that, books and all of the other “junk” I used
    to do is “out the door”. As to the alphabet, I , too, did the random
    thing with the transparency (like the numbers) and I found the kids
    learned them super fast in very little time and bored quickly of it.
    the kids can actually

    Kathleen Sweeney Bulger
    I play pictionary, monkey in the middle, frenzy, concentration, Human
    Tic-tac-toe, charades, around the world, bingo, and the Si or No line
    I usually play two or three of these during a 45 minute period.
    Monkey in the Middle is their favorite. It is also called “bop”. the
    students sit in a circle with a picture of one of the vocab for the
    chapter taped to the front of their desks. A monkey is in the middle.
    ( Hence the name) I call out a word in the circle and the Monkey has
    to go touch that desk before the person with the picture can call out
    another picture in the circle. If the monkey touches your desk before
    you call out another word you are the monkey in the middle. The object
    is to keep the monkey running around the circle for a long time. I
    have also changed the game so that instead of saying the words you
    must simply do the gesture for the word.

    Charades is my personal
    favorite. I divide the class into two teams. They form two lines
    and I place a pile of index cards in the front of each line with
    sentences using the vocab. the first person steps up and acts out the
    first sentence using the gestures. The next person in line answers
    and they do the next card and so forth and so on. It is a speed
    thing. they compete to see which team can get the most in five
    minutes. ( these games are really hard to explain) I hope that you
    can understand them. Time to sign off!! Kids sit in circle. All have
    as many chips as there are students. Must say something they have
    never done. An empty cup gets passed around. Anyone who has done
    that thing must “pay”. When cup gets back to original kid, he takes
    all chips & next student makes a statement. My ex. to them was “I have
    never water-skied.” Many of them had to pay me b/c they had. One boy
    said,”I have never put on make-up.” Every girl in the room had to
    pay! Lots of fun. Enjoy

    Esther Gordon

    I use it all the time after we have learned the words for a new chapter.
    However, I change the rules. I tell them it’s a free -for- all on the
    to make as many words as they can, with the normal word connecting
    rules, but
    they keep score by the number of legitimate/appropriate words they
    make from
    the chapter. I put them in groups of four, so each group is competing
    against the other to get as many vocab words from the chapter onto the
    that they can remember and define if they were asked. The group with
    he most
    words by the time the timer goes off (usually ten minutes) gets a
    prize. It
    really fosters group work, and healthy competition and I have found
    that even
    the quietest kid in the room will participate to help get his team points.
    The prizes usually include a get out of HW or quiz or detention pass, or
    extra points on that chapter test. they really prefer this method rather
    than the “traditional” Scrabble rules. At the end of the year, we played
    several of these “games” to review vocab from all year, and I was
    amazed at
    just how much they could remember from those very first few weeks of

    Hope this helps!

    Sit in a circle. Give each student as many counters (pennies, beans,
    little pieces of candy–in a paper cup, if necessary) as there are
    in the group. You will also need an extra, empty paper cup. If you
    to play, include yourself in the count. Tell each student to think of
    things they have NEVER done that they think many others will have done;
    they must be honest or this game is no fun (they think of two so they
    have a back-up idea if someone else “takes” theirs). At his or her turn,
    the student makes a never statement: for example, “I have never seen
    *Titanic*” (I always get them with this one!!) and passes the extra,
    cup. Any student who HAS done what the speaker HAS NOT done must put a
    marker in the cup (I usually get a marker from everyone!!). When the cup
    gets back to the speaker, s/he empties out all the markers and gives the
    empty cup to the next person who does the same thing. The game ends when
    you have gone around the entire circle once (or twice with a small
    group or
    lots of time). The winner is the one who has the most beans or
    whatever. If you use pieces of candy for markers and let the kids keep
    what they end up with, the game is really self-scoring! Just be sure the
    candies are wrapped since they get handled a lot.

    I do this once a year and my students always love it.

    I don’t know who originally posted Vocab Volleyball but it is a great
    and I want to thank that person (if I only knew who you are?) In Vocab
    volleyball the class is divided into 2 teams. I move the chairs and
    to the perimeter and the kids sit on the floor. I also put something
    in the
    middle to serve as a net. I have movable bookcases and use those. Our
    Spanish teachers uses a row of desks. You need a beach ball to
    play. The rules are
    1) the team can only hit the ball over the net after they have said the
    meaning of the word
    2) One person can’t hit the ball more than 3 times in a row (They toss
    it up
    and down while thinking)
    3) No spiking or hard hits
    4) You don’t have to serve to get a point.

    Points are scored if a team answers wrong, hits the ball over before
    the correct definition, or makes an illegal hit (spike or hard hit.)

    One team serves and I say a word in German or English. The team who
    has the
    ball on their side has to translate it for me before hitting it back
    over. T

    Bob the Croc. I have a stuffed crocodile, hence the name. The room is
    arranged in a circle. All the kids except for one sit at a table/desk in
    this circle. They each have a vocab word written on a sheet of paper
    is tri-folded so it stands up on the desk. There is a beginning and
    end to
    the circle. The Head person (We call head moose) is the one who
    starts. He
    has to say the word on his desk AND do the gesture and then call out a
    different word AND do the gesture for that word. The person who has the
    word that was called out says his word and does his gesture and also
    out a new word and does the gesture. While this is going on, there is a
    person in the middle of the circle who has my stuffed crocodile. He is
    trying to hit the desk of the person who’s word was called before he can
    call out a new word. If the bobber is successful, everyone one in the
    circle at that point stands and moves up one spot. The kid who got
    becomes the person in the circle and the person who was just in the
    goes to the last position of the circle = the skunk.

    Warning: The games are not good for CI. Sometimes the kids can get


  4. Diane Volzer posted this Apples to Apples idea on yahoo today. I thought it was perfect for sharing:

    Sorry for the weird characters. I think you can read around them!


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