1. Swords and Sandals

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Petra Devers Usefun games November 2007

1. Swords and Sandals

Swords and sandals is a mini-epic gladiator game. Create your hero and battle your way to fame and fortune upon the sands of the arena.

Tooltips will guide your way through the specific games, but the basic pattern of the game is as follows:

  1. Create/build up your character

  2. Buy weapons and armour

  3. Defeat gladiators to win experience and gold… and then do it all again.

Your ultimate aim is to defeat all seven arena champions and reign as champion yourself. If you find yourself struggling, try a different strategy.

Good luck, gladiator.

Aim of the game is to play the demo and learn vocabulary about armours and weapons by pushing the enter and leave buttons.
When can you use this in class: in the integration stage after having introduced vocabulary about ancient Roman customs with gladiators, or even about medieval weapons.
Age: as young as possible: in England, this game is played by 6 year olds. I believe our 2nd graders will enjoy this way of starting to learn English. It could be more a boy’s thing.

2. The Tracy sites
2.1 The Ballad Dare


Tracy Beaker is an orphan, living in an orphanage. She says: “Justine has dared me to finish her ballads. I’ll do it easy – peasy – if you help me. If I win the dare, she’s going to have to eat a worm!”

Aim of the game is to finish the 5 verses that rhyme by clicking on the correct word.


Some people say that I’m no good

They reckon I’m just too wild.

But when prospective parents come round

I pretend I’m meek and _____________
Quiet mild loud Greek
When can you use this in class: in the integration stage of a lesson about rhyming words, or even to introduce creative writing, e.g. create your own poem.
Age: again, this game is played by young children in England, so I would use this by the end of the first year, with 14 year olds.

2.2 The Secret Code

Tracy says: “The Dumping Ground is like a prison sometimes. No one gets out without the secret password! Help me solve the riddles to get me out of this place.”

Click on the clues left around Tracy’s cell. Each piece of paper has a riddle to be solved.

Each riddle will give you one letter in the secret password. Click on “Guess the password” when you know what it is. Good luck!


Un-jumble RAPTOR to make a bird

With colourful feathers

And a voice to be heard!

What am I?


type your answer here

Aim of the game is to solve the clues on the notes and help Tracy escape of her prison by

rearranging letters and finding rhyming words.

When can you use this in class: in the introduction stage of a vocabulary lesson, to get the pupils eager to participate in learning new words.
Age: this game is played by young children in England, so I would use this in our beginners classes of 2nd grade.

2.3 Tidy your Bedroom!


Tracy says: “Tidying up your bedroom is a real drag, but someone’s got to do it!

Help me write instructions on how to keep your bedroom tidy. Maybe then we can get someone else to do it!”

Aim of the game is to write your own message for cleaning up your room. You print it, and you have a nicely decorated reminder.

This is a very useful reminder for kids with Asperger, or just kids with difficulties of daily discipline.

When can you use this in class: as a cross curriculum exercise about tidiness in the pupils’ satchels, or when you are covering a topic about cleaning, house work, relations between parents and children etc.
Age: definitely 2nd and 3rd graders

2.4 Room Poster

Tracy says: “If there’s one thing I really hate it’s people who aren’t invited coming into my room. Don’t they know, when I put up a sign saying KEEP OUT, I really mean KEEP OUT!!!

Aim of the activity is to create a funky room poster by entering name, warning and punishment.

When can you use this in class: in the evaluation stage of a vocabulary topic as “Crime and punishment”, or when you have a lesson about privacy, stipulating your boundaries, express your likes and dislikes…
Age: 2nd and 3rd grade

2.5 Karate Kick

Tracy says: “I hate tidying up my bedroom. I’m a busy writer and really don’t have time to do all this housework. Maybe if you help we can kick all this rubbish out of the way? You’ve got to be quick, though!”
This is not useful, just fun after usefun games

You click on the items to clean up her room.

The activity lasts only 45 seconds.

This is an eye/mouse-hand coordination exercise.

When can you use this in class: this is just a game, no learning involved, but the last in the Tracy files. I have added it because I would use it as a treat, for some pupils who have worked quite well, or fast, and deserve a little extra.

Age: 13- 14 years

3. Walkie Talkie

“It seems that everybody needs your help today. Your youth club is full of people needing your advice. Navigate your way around to help everyone before making your way out.”

Press space bar, tab or enter for access options.

Aim of the game is to find your way around a dungeon, to answer questions in several rooms, and find the exit again. Depending on the answers you’ve given, you get a personal remark.
When can you use this in class: in the introduction stage of a topic as “Hobbies”, “How I spend my free time”, or in the evaluation stage.
Age: 2nd3rd grade

4. Wild Little Monsters

Welcome to the Little Monsters Pairs game. See if you can match the baby animals with their parents. Click on the baby on the left, then on the parent on the right. Good luck!
Aim of the game is to link the babies to the parents and read the given explanation when you’ve answered correctly.
e.g. Male swans are called cobs and females are known a pens. Swans pair for life, and their babies are called cygnets.
When can you use this in class: in the integration stage after word fields have been introduced concerning the topic
Age: 2nd3rd grade

5. Roman Mysteries


Can you unlock the final Roman Mystery?

This is a crime investigation game in ancient Rome. It has real people starring instead of drawn pictures.

It takes a while to read through all the clues. More for advanced English understanding.

When can you use this in class: this game takes up time, if you use it, I would put it in corner work, extra corner, or as an extra for advanced learners. It requires some knowledge of English.
Age: 4th graders

1. Jumpstarting words Car number plates (visual and cognitive ) p 29
The aim of this game is to make up short sentences using words that begin with the letters from car number plates.

  • Before playing the game, collect various number plates (the teachers’ car park is a good place to start). To make the whole exercise even more interesting, ask the children to collect a few number plates on their way to and from school.

  • Write the letters on the blackboard. Try to include as many sets of letters as possible.

  • Now see if the pupils can invent a short sentence using words that start with the letters on the board, e.g.

B D D could be Bill Dug Deep

  • Sentences can be written on a paper and shared at the end of the activity.

Variation: do the same with their names
e.g. Petra : Please end this right away!
When can you use this in class: in the introduction stage, to start a topic of pronunciation of the alphabet, or in an integration stage of forming words or using words you already know, maybe even in an evaluation stage to use words the pupils have just learned
Age: 2nd grade

2. Jumpstarting sentences Finishing sentences (visual and cognitive) p 41

  • In this game you provide the class with a beginning, a middle, or an end of a sentence and they have to try to complete it. You could play this orally or using paper – individually, in pairs, or as a whole class.

  • Start by providing openings to be completed. Write a selection of these on the blackboard, giving one or two examples to get the pupils going, e.g.

The old king…

The children arrived at the…

  • Then give them a few endings, e.g.

… into the sack.

… it was empty!

  • Finally, see how they cope with middles (some might find this quite difficult and will need plenty of help), e.g.

jumped over …

… changed into …

When can you use this in class: in the presentation stage of a topic about prepositions to indicate before, in the middle and behind, or a topic about the structure of a text, with a beginning, a middle and an end.
Age: 3rd4th grade
3. Jumpstarting writing Alphabet games (auditory and cognitive) p 87
Place alphabets are really a great way to bring the alphabet alive.

  • The children start off by choosing a place; e.g. the beach, town centre, playground, park, zoo, etc. They then make a list of what each letter did e.g.

At the zoo

A asked directions

B built an aquarium

C climbed with the monkeys

additional: practice of the past simple

Alphabets of ingredients can be quite a fun way of playing with words and having to think hard:

  • An alphabet of treats – here the pupils choose things that they love to do, e.g.

A was abseiling at the local sports centre

B was buying an ice cream

C was camping out under the stars

D was driving a go-cart

additional: practice of the past continuous

When can you use this in class: in the introduction stage, to start a topic of pronunciation of the alphabet, or in an integration stage of forming words or using words you already know, maybe even in an evaluation stage to use words the pupils have just learned
Age: 2nd grade
4. Jumpstarting learning Gossip (auditory and cognitive) p 151
This is a quick and easy verbal activity that can be used at the end of a unit of teaching to reinforce learning. Gossip is a simple and effective device for exploring what’s just been learnt. (all ages)

  • In pairs, the pupils stand and imagine there is a fence between them and their partner.

  • Pretending to lean on the fence, they gossip about what they have learnt in the last unit of work.

  • They could talk about knowledge gained, skills developed, or their thoughts about how they set about learning.

5. Jumpstarting writing Postcards (visual and cognitive) p 70-71 (good for all ages)

It is worth building up a large collection of postcards. They have the advantage of providing lots of variety and can be used on many occasions as long as the pupils do not always use the same card. The most successful ones seem to be those of paintings. Surreal paintings work well, as do scenes where something is seen to be happening. Portraits also work well – holiday snaps of sunsets do not!

  • You need a varied and broad collection of postcards – somewhere in the region of 100 is ideal. The pupils each select a card… and then there are all sorts of ways that these can be used to trigger the imagination at the beginning of a lesson:

Book cover

  1. Pretend that the card is the cover of a book. Get the pupils to write down the book’s title on their paper.

  2. They should then write down three possible titles and underline the best.

  3. In pairs, the pupils take it in turns to tell their partner what the book is about.

  4. Next ask them to imagine that this card is an illustration from inside a storybook. Can they explain to their partner what is happening?

  5. They should then try to write the first line of the story, followed by the rest of the opening paragraph.

Wish you were here

  1. Pretend that someone is about to write the postcard. Who is sending it and to whom?

  2. What has just happened to the sender of the card?

  3. Ask the children to imagine they are the sender. On their paper, see if they can write the message they are going to put on the back of the card.

  4. An extension of this is to try writing the message in different ways, varying the tone depending on the sort of event they are describing, e.g. a happy event, sad, exciting, dangerous, astonishing, dull, inexplicable, etc.

Similar activities to these can be played using objects: Who does the object belong to? Why does it matter to them? Where did they get it? Who wants it and why? What is hidden inside it? The object witnessed an amazing event – what was it?

Source: Jumpstart! Literacy Pie Corbett

Games and activities for ages 7 - 14 David Fulton Publishers

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