Activate: Games for Learning American English is a collection of games for the language classroom. The games in Activate offer interactive English language practice in a learner-centered, low-stress environment. Word Bricks are used for building sentences in English. The Word Bricks have a wide range of words in English written on them: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, articles, pronouns, and so on—all of the building blocks that students need to form complete phrases and sentences in English.
Brick Bingo helps students make connections between the spoken and written forms of words in a fun, low-stress game. The teacher calls out individual words and students remove those Words Bricks from their Bingo boards if they have that word. This game can be played individually or in pairs.
In Part of Speech, teacher gives the players a specific pattern to use, and their sentences must follow this pattern. Students use Word Bricks to build sentences individually, in pairs, or in small groups. This activity is great for lower proficiency level students, as it provides scaffolding to help students generate a correct sentence.
In Sentence Boundaries, the teacher gives the players five specific requirements for their sentences. Each round of the game requires the players to create sentences that follow different patterns. The first team to complete all five patterns (in order) and earn 5 points wins the game.
Players in a game of Sentence Challenge work in teams to create the longest sentence possible out of their Word Bricks without any help from the teacher. Then, the opposing teams are responsible for ‘challenging’ a sentence if they believe there is an error in a team’s sentence. Points are awarded to teams that appropriately challenge incorrect sentences and to teams that create their own correct sentences.
Sentence Race is a fast-paced, exciting game that gives students a chance to think quickly in English as they try to earn points by building well-formed sentences using Word Bricks. This game can be played for a specified amount of time or until one team reaches a target number of points. The first team to reach the goal wins the game. Teams of 3-4 students work best.
In Describe and Guess, players take turns selecting a Word Brick and then describing one of the words on the brick without saying the actual word. The goal is to get the remaining players to guess the word.
Longest Sentence asks students to create the longest sentence possible using a set of 15–20 Word Bricks in only 3 minutes. Keeping the time limit short makes for a fast-paced, fun atmosphere as teams compete to make the longest sentence.