Playing with a dice…..



Our huge class dice, on the teacher’s desk!

Some time ago, I read a post on Olha Madylus’ amazing blog about how to use a dice in the class, which I found very inspiring! I decided to give it a try, at once! I made  my class huge dice and used all the activities below -suggested by Olha in her post- along with some activities of my own….!

I have to admit, it was huge success!! My students loved the dice games and asked for it, every single day! I am grateful to Olha, once more for all her support and inspiration ! She has been my mentor and she knows it !

I am sharing Olha’s notes first and I am also adding a few of my own tips! They really worked in my class! Hope, they will work in your class, too!

As Olha says “Sometimes we don’t need or don’t have access to much in the way of sophisticated aids, materials, back-up in our classrooms. But what we do have is the most sophisticated tool ever created – the imagination to help us!”

 First things first….

Equip students either with dice or get them to make spinners (you can also make dice) and away we go…


Board games


Can be student-made and that’s all the better as students will get involved in making and shaping their own materials and get to practice even more language.


Below is a board game I made to practice sports and free time activities vocabulary. Children throw their dice in turns and when they land on a picture, they have to say what it is. It can be used for more complex language, too, e.g. when a child lands on a sport picture she can say ‘I like / I don’t like tennis ’, practicing the use of grammar  ; ‘My most favourite sport is tennis’, practicing descriptions etc.


Children can create their own board games by drawing pictures of vocabulary items they have learnt in English and challenging each other. If you laminate the board games and keep them in a box, they are great for fast finishers or as a filler in lessons.


Older students can create board games with questions in spaces to be answered when landed on e.g. What’s your greatest ambition? What sport would you like to be able to play but can’t?

My variation: I use this game mainly to teach vocabulary . First, my kids are  asked to make  their own board games working in teams to practice specific vocabulary related to ie- Christmas, Easter, the environment, geography etc -according to  the unit we were working on, each time.


Secret Questions


If producing a board game seems too fiddly or time-consuming, students can work in pairs (or individually) and write 6 questions (based on a previously taught unit in the course book e.g. if they are practicing the vocabulary of jobs a question could be – What do you call a person who takes care of our teeth? / dentist). They mingle around the class and when they meet another pair/student, they have to roll or spin and get asked the question which they have landed on.

My variation: I use the same procedure in the beginning of the school year, as an ice-breaker….My students are asked to write personal questions they would like to ask their classmates ie- ” Which  is your favourite cartoon character and why?” , “If you were an animal, what would you be and why?” or other type of  questions about ie- their summer holiday memories .




A fun game which revises lots of vocabulary and is great for older children and adults is practicing how many syllables words have. In groups one student at a time rolls the dice or spins the spinner. When it lands on a number that student has to say a word which has that number of syllables in it e.g. 4 = photographer. If they are correct they win a point. At the end of the game, points are counted up and a winner declared. This game is great for recalling vocabulary and hearing it inside our head.

My variation: Instead of words, my students are asked to say a sentence which has that number of words in it

eg 6= My favourite toy is my bike.




Students work in pairs and take it in turns to throw the dice / spin the spinner and have to produce an utterance with as many words as they have thrown. They have to conduct a whole conversation! You can assign topics beforehand. If you can record them it’s fun or have pairs doing their dialogues in front of the rest of the class, if they feel comfortable. This is great fun and encourages students to be very creative and meaningful, while producing often very short utterances.

My variation: I did that activity both in English and in Greek a few months ago -during our “Teachers4Europe” project. Teams had to use the dice and  creative writing  techniques, to produce their own short plays about the myth of Europe.Instead of conducting a conversation  , they had to  produce their own script, for the school sketch.


Whose turn is it?


Choosing who gets to answer questions or dealing with lots of hands up in the air can lead to accusations of unfairness. I group students in the class so that there are five or eleven groups, each group assigned a number. (I get a number, too) With the bigger class I use 2 dice or spinners. When it’s time for someone to answer a question I roll the dice / spin the spinner(s) and that group – or I – answer the question. Trust me – it’s fun and students never complain if they have to answer more or fewer questions than others as it’s just the luck of the draw.

My variation: I also use this game to decide about which team comes to the board first or next, in order to present their project to the rest of the class! I also use it to decide about who my helpers for certain tasks will  be. Or even to deal with seat arrangement !! Cool!

He is acting a word out...

He is acting a word out…

Points lottery


Normally whenever we play a game with students they win a point for a correct answer, but let’s bring an element of chance. For example they could be playing Hangman. Before they guess a letter they roll the dice or spin the spinner, whatever number they land on will be the amount of points they get if they are right. This adds that element of chance and daftness to the game. It is also great practice to add up points at the end together in English.

My variation:I haven’t  actually changed anything ,here! I use this lottery activity, a lot when we play  games in teams. Kids get so excited about throwing the dice to find out the amount of points their team gets !

I also use it with my 3rd graders when I teach them the numbers 1-6 . They have to throw the dice and say or write the number they have landed on. Later, when they know more numbers , I might ask them to throw the dice twice and write the number they get making basic  mathematical calculations .


Grammar Game


Another great game for teens / adults. Bring in an interesting picture with a lot happening in it or show a video clip from a film with lots of action but with the sound turned down. Assign each number a tense e.g. 1=simple present, 2=present continuous, 3=simple past etc. As students take turns rolling the dice they have to create a sentence about what they are seeing in that particular tense. Again students can work alone or in pairs. It’s challenging and yet very meaningful as the rest of the class must accept or reject the offerings.

My variation: I have created  a similar  activity   to revise  vocabulary ! Students, work in teams.I give individual students a word .

I assign each number a task  with the given word .

e.g. 1=Spell it, 2=write it down ,3=use it in a sentence, 4=draw it, 5=act it out, 6=translate it .

They get a point for their team , each time they succeed.


Making questions


Allocate each number to a question word – 1=who, 2=why, 3=where, 4=when, 5=what, 6=how. Decide on a topic – this is usually one studied recently. Students work in pairs or small groups. One at a time students roll or spin and as they land they have to make a question for their partner(s) on that topic using that question word. For example if they land on 4 and they topic is sport a question could be – When do you usually watch sport on TV? Making questions in English is tricky and it’s great to practice as well as to review language from earlier lessons.

My variation: It’s fun when I combine this activity with the “Bananas” wh- questions game! One student comes to the board , rolls the dice and has to answer  all his  classmates’ questions- which should start with the question word he has landed on-  without smiling or laughing!! If they smile, they are out and the person who has made them smile, takes their place ! For example if they land on 5, their classmates have to ask them  questions starting with “What” ie-What does your nose look like?, What’s your brother’s  name etc .Hilarious!!


Working on feelings

mosaic feel last5

I have always wanted to work on feelings with my youngest students , in a more creative way!

It was last year, the day I attended  Maria Papadimitriou ‘s inspiring  talk, in one of  our local English Teachers’ Association seminar days, when I finally  decided ,to  do so!  Maria, is a passionate state primary school English teacher, working in a village school , in  central Greece.

Feeling angry: miming games

Maria, presented her teachings tips and ideas in detail  and gave us examples about  how to work on feelings with the students,  successfully!

I  decided to try most of her suggestions with my afternoon classes and found out that they really worked !! This is why I am here today, to share them with all of you, too! Because,they worked!!

Day 1

Step 1: Students learn and sing any  feelings song-s . The songs I used with my students, can be found in:

Happy-immitation games
Happy-miming games

Lesson Plan

What we need: a puppet,a  soft ball,a  CD player,paper plates,straws, a stappler, feelings flashcards, a “feelings” dice or spinner, a feelings check- in board or a  poster

Language  :happy, sad, hungry, thirsty, tired,angry,scared, how are you feeling, today?, Are you…? , Yes, I am, No, I am not

Lesson 1

Warm up-5 min

The puppet role plays a small dialogue and presents the feelings vocabulary to the students!

mosaic feelings new puppet
Our puppet!

Task 1

The feelings check-in board

The puppet asks each student, how he/she is feeling.Then, the puppet calls out students’ names it gives each of them a clothes pin with their name on and asks them to tag it on the picture which is their feeling at the moment, on the feelings check-in board or poster.

The feelings poster

Task 2- 10 min

Students listen to “Hello, how are you” song or any other similar one .The song I used with my students, can be found here:

Task 3

Students  make different feelings puppets using  paper plates and straws.

mosaic feel last4

End of the lesson-5 min

The puppet asks students “How are you feeling NOW”? Students, spot the changes in their mood.

The students, imitate their  feeling and then , change the position of the clothes pin on the feelings poster, if their feelings have changed ! They may use, more than one clothes pins.

Students, raise their paper plate masks to identify their feelings .

Day 2

Lesson 2

Warm-up -2 min

The teacher uses flashcards, to revise happy, sad, tired, hungry, thirsty and to add angry, scared, hot, cold!

Task 1-10 min

A soft ball game

The teacher, throws the ball to students  and asks: ” How are you feeling, today”?Students, reply.


Task 2- 10 min

The teacher uses a feelings dice or spinner ( I used the beautiful spinner , my partner and friend in Taiwan Annie Tsai had sent me ) and asks the students  to play a miming game . Students mime the feeling on the dice/spinner and their classmates try to guess.

A gift spinner- which I finally used in my class to teach feelings- Annie Tsai, had sent it to my students as a present!
A spinner- which I finally used in my class to teach feelings- Annie Tsai, had sent it to my students as a present!

Task 3-10 min

Story reading: ” Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf”

As students listen to the story, they are asked to raise their paper plate masks to indentify their feelings in each different stage.

mosaic feel lastsos

End of the lesson- 10 min

Students play the ” How are you feeling Mr Wolf” playground  game.

Each time the players ask Mr Wolf this question, he answers with a feeling word. All the players , have to immitate his feeling!

Finally, the Wolf says, ” I am Hungry”! When he does, all students rush away and run all over the playground, trying not to get caught by the Wolf! Whoever gets caught first, becomes the Wolf in the new round.

How are you feeling Mr Wolf?
How are you feeling Mr Wolf?

Useful sites to visit ( Emotions museum of Childhood in Athens)

Students, immitate Mr Wolf's feelings!
Students, imitate Mr Wolf’s feelings!