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Online Resources

Short News Article Finder

Having trouble finding news articles that are just the right length? The Short News Article Finder allows you to search news sites for brief articles which are under a specific word count. The main search can be a little slow, so please be patient. The dedicated site search options are faster. If your results contain a lot of repeat articles, try being more specific with your search term.

See also the short blog post finder

Scattergories

Play the categories game [eslgames.com] online at scattergoriesonline.net

Geoguessing

Random Street View is a fun activity using using Google Maps. You are transported to a random place on the globe. Have learners navigate you around the surroundings and finally make a guess as to where they think the location is.

See also Geoguessr for a more in depth interface and gameplay.

Sporcle Quizzes

Sporcle is the home of many online interactive quizzes. There’s a mountain of them available and some of them are very suitable for online ESL classes. They’re great as a warm up or finale. Here’s a couple I’ve used recently – Text & Chat abbreviations, Guess the top 100 English words and UK / US English.

Semantris

Semantris is actually two clever and addictive word association games using Google’s AI. Students must suggest words connected to a target word in order to connect blocks or remove the target word from an ever growing stack.

Hangman

Hangman is a fun way to review the alphabet or resurface the odd bit of vocabulary. This handy hangman webpage allows you to input your own vocabulary to create a fun, five minute filler.

Wheel Randomizer

This is a handy tool for picking random participants, topics, categories, etc.

Quizlet

Quizlet is a user-friendly, flashcard-based, quiz maker which you can use for reviewing vocabulary. Simply enter the target word and Quizlet generates pictures and translations which you can use for a variety of activities.

Mind Maps

There are lots of tools for creating online Mind Maps. I like to use Mind Meister because it has a relatively simple interface which is more than enough for creating word maps. The free version only allows you to create three maps, but that works fine for me as I don’t need to store them. Instead, I take a screenshot at the end to share with the participants.

Mad Libs

This is a humorous activitiy which I sometimes do at the end of a class if there is a bit of time left over. The idea of Mad Libs is that someone holds a text with some words removed. This person asks other members of the class to offer random words to complete the text. The rest of the class has no idea as to what the text is about. Finally, the text is read out in full and it’s usually quite amusing.

Mad Takes is a nice, user friendly interface to hundreds of gapped texts which you can use. Just send a link to one of the participants and let them run the activity themselves. Here are a few which I have already used successfully.

How to Wash your Face
Television Ad
Greetings, Earthlings
A Galaxy Apart

Online Crosswords

Crosswords can be useful for recapping language. For example, I like to use them for testing recall of different verb forms. Crossword Labs has a great tool for easily creating online crosswords. Once complete, learners can complete them as a collaborative task with one person in charge of entering answers or you can assign them as homework tasks.

Skribbl.io (Pictionary)

Skribbl is a multiplayer, online Pictionary style game. You can create private rooms and import your own word lists – The Game Gal has some nice lists of Pictionary words categorised by difficulty as does this page. I tend to use this activity as an end of term/step treat.

Disposable Chat

Sometimes I like to put pairs of students into a chat room for tasks like simulating a customer support experience. Disposablechat.com lets you quickly set up simple, temporary chat rooms which require only a link to join.