Different kinds of Kahoots!

Last week we looked at how you could get started with Kahoot! By now, I suppose you have your account and you’ve looked around.  Today, I am going to talk about different kinds of exercises that you can create, all focused on how to teach & practice language.

There are five different kinds of Kahoot! exercises that I have come up with.

Let’s start with the one that is a favorite in workbooks—dehydrated sentences.  When you set up Kahoot, you can choose the “JUMBLE” option and this will allow you to have sentence parts presented randomly each time you play.  Students will drag the parts of the sentences in the right order on their phones.  Please note, that you will can only cut up sentences into 4 parts, so think about how you’d like to challenge your students.  I often like to have sentences with two main clauses joined by linking words.

The second type is the most common type to play:  Multiple choice options to grammar questions.  It works out well to use sentences from other resources or the workbook.  You simply need to have between 2 and 4 multiple choice answer options.  You can even put in various correct answers, but I find that students don’t like that possibility!

The third way is to use Kahoot for a flashcard activity. You can put pictures up on the kahoot and give students vocabulary options.  You could ask a question like “what’s this” so students identify the picture.  Or you could put up a picture, say, of school and then ask which word is associated with it.  You can also link YouTube videos in with it, so you can play a short segment of a music video and ask students which vocab words they heard.

The fourth way is playing trivia.  I have found this a fun way of introducing new vocabulary and promoting discussion.  With these, I generally look for a  Kahoot on a topic that we are talking about, like health, copy it to my account and then add or delete questions.  Many times, Kahoots that have been made for a class in the US has been useful for my English class if I simplify the questions a bit.

The fifth and last way is multiple-choice cloze reading activities. For the Cambridge First exams and other tests, there are reading texts which test 4 different but similar words and their collocations.  As an example, there might be a text where we want to contrast and the word choices could be however, despite, although, or but.  Depending on the rest of the sentence, only one would be the right answer.  For example, you could complete this sentence: I didn’t raise my hand to volunteer ___________ I knew the answer.

I didn’t raise my hand to volunteer although I knew the answer.

So these are the 5 ways I have found of using Kahoots.  It’s a great way to keep students challenged, to keep the game fresh and to also be able to adapt Kahoot to what you are teaching.

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Give a Kahoot!

Kahoot! is a website that allows you to create questions and turn any type of multiple-choice question into a gameshow format.  In the next Shawn’s Corner segment, we’ll look at all the different ideas we have for making Kahoots, but in this one, let’s look at the basics and some considerations.

First of all, making the Kahoots. To sign up for an account and to view other people’s games, you need to go to create.kahoot.it

Once you have made your account, you can click on “discover” and type in your grammar point and the level you are looking for to find other people’s Kahoots.  Try, for example, Present Perfect A2, Conditionals B2, Sports A2, Linking Words, etc.  These are just a few ideas!

To make your own, click on Create.  In a nutshell, you write a question and must provide between 2 and 4 answers.  You can time the questions and add as many as you like.  We’ll look more at this in a future session.  My suggestion is that you find the one you like, click on “duplicate” and then modify it to get the hang of the platform.

So let’s move on to our next part, which is student interaction.

When you play with students, you will refer them to the kahoot.it site or they can download the app.  You should normally project the game on a screen so that students can see the game.  Because the question options do not appear on the phone, it has the advantage that all students will pay attention to the board.  They only look at their phones the moment they are answering. They will become very involved and it’s a very energetic experience, so it’s a great way to finish off a class.  Basically, you can do the whole content of a worksheet in a short time with a lot more attention. It’s memorable, saves paper and gets students engaged.

If you’d like to view some of the Kahoots I’ve made or adapted from other Kahoot users, please do a search for “Shawnito”.  Look for the creator as a “shawnito” and you’ll know that it’s one that I’ve used or made, from 5th grade level on up through university student levels.

So, because you really do give a hoot, why don’t you give a Kahoot!  Learning will happen during the game.

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Use TED Talks for Language Practice

Have you been to TED.com lately?  What’s your favorite talk?  Is it the one by Sir Ken Robinson on “Do Schools Kill Creativity?  Is it Susan Cain on “The Power of Introverts”?

Ted Talks carry strong messages and innovative ideas. They’re up-to-date, appealing and powerful.  But how can we use these for teaching English?  After all, they talk really fast.

Well there are 3 ways, each with three different qualities.

1. TED-Ed


Many teachers like us have contributed ESL lesson plans.  They may be on topics associated with TED talks or even some are just original ideas.  The lessons are comprised of a video, followed by questions to make students think.  Then there are further references which may be useful for students to read or for you to prepare for your lesson.



2. TED.com with interactive transcript

Going back to the regular TED.com site, there are often articles associated with the talks themselves, which make useful reading comprehension exercises and they can also be useful for determining what vocabulary to pre-teach.  You can also use this as an exercise to practice pronunciation and look at language. This can really promote autonomy and engagement.  Motivated students can watch part of the talk, then read and then listen again to compare their pronunciation to that of the TED speaker.

3. TED NPR Radio Hour

The third way of using TED is very useful for adults and also a treat for us teachers:  if you go to Googleplay and download the Podcasts app on your Android phone or, for you iPhone or iPad users, if you look for the Podcasts app, you can use any kind of smartphone to subscribe to the TED Radio Hour prepared by NPR, National Public Radio.  Every week parts of TED talks are gathered around 1 topic and then there are interviews with the speakers.  In the end, those great ideas are presented in a more accessible way.

So, these are the 3 ways that you can use TED to bring great language (and ideas!) to your learners. 

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The Giving Tree Project

In this Shawn’s corner, we are going to take a peak at a project related to the book “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.

Here’s what you can do to make your own giving tree with your students.

For younger students, you can list different emotions that one would feel while hearing the story, such as:

  • I was amazed
  • It was amazing
  • It was sad
  • The tree was happy
  • I was surprised
  • It was surprising
  • I was confused
  • It was annoying

Notice here that it’s a great practice for differentiating between adjectives with -ed or -ing.  After all, it’s not the same to be bored as it is to be boring!

For older students, you can practice the third conditional.  Tell them to note down facts as to reasons why the boy took things from the tree.  Afterwards, they can write up sentences for others to explain like “If the boy hadn’t wanted to travel far away, he wouldn’t have cut the tree down.” 

So imagine, this part of the book:

Students could be surprised that….

If the tree hadn’t offered to ….., then ….

After reading, I gave my students tracing paper for them to trace around some printed leaves shapes I found.  You could also just print out a copy of leaves for each student or have them draw their own.  I just had a few minutes for artwork, so I wanted this to be fast.

Then I made a tree trunk out of cardboard and the students hung up their leaves around the tree.

That’s how we made our own Giving Tree, while talking about emotions and some hypothetical situations.

Hope your students enjoy the project and take benefit from this timeless and meaningful story. 

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