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Download ESL Games for the English Classroom & Online Teaching

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No Prep ESL Lessons Activities and Games: How to Use


Happy Everyday English lessons center on topics that young students can relate to such as animals, clothes, colors, verbs, and a whole lot more.  Each lesson is a lightweight, self contained software file that has original artwork and a lesson presentation.  They also contain more than twenty built-in games and practice activities. 

These lessons are not Powerpoint or Smart Notebook lessons.  Each lesson is a piece of software developed by me from the ground up.  Because of this, I have a lot more freedom to develop the content and thus, you have a lot more freedom and options when using them in class.

Table of Cotents

HEE ESL Lessons Guide Table of Contents

Select the topic below that you are interested in to jump straight to it and find out more about it.

content breakdown

Content Breakdown

Each piece of lesson software that I develop includes five sections:

1. Keywords Introduction: Introduce the lesson's keywords one by one.  This should be done prior to viewing the presentation, the activities, or playing any games.

2. Content Presentation: The presentation allows students to see the keywords of the unit in context. 

3. Practice Activities: Practice activities give students to practice the vocabulary of the unit in an interactive way.  Students will often produce the target language during these activities.  Prior vocabulary may be used during specific activities.  Students may also practice reading and spelling the words.  Practice activities vary a bit from lesson to lesson.

4. Practice Games: Each lesson includes more than a dozen practice games.  These games are should be used to practice the lesson's vocabulary in a variety of ways.

5. Review: This is a simple review slide that gives students the opportunity to review the lesson's vocabulary.  This could be used as a warm up activity at the start of the lesson after they've first learned them or at the end of a lesson as a quick review.

sample lesson plan

Sample Lesson Plan

HEE lesson software may seem a little overwhelming at first.  There's a lot going on!

But fear not!  I've got your back with a sample lesson plan.

You can download the lesson plan here.  This plan covers the first lesson for the Animals unit.

Download the lesson plan here.

This sample lesson plan can be used with all of the lessons I have on the website.  You can adjust the activities used depending on what's available in the software and the specific needs of your class.

I'll add more plans and content so don't forget to subscribe to the mailing list if you haven't already!

how to play games

How to: Lesson Games

A hallmark of HEE lessons is the amount of games included in each lesson.  There are tons!

Some of the games are classic staples of ESL classes around the world.  Others...not so much.  Here, I'll give easy to follow instructions that will help you better understand the included games.

What's Missing?            Remember It             Bit By Bit               UFO Grabber                 Pictionary

Time Bomb!                   Race to Touch           Spin Off                 Slow Reveal                  Find It

Jewel Catcher               Quick Flash                Reverse Charades               Spy Glass

Concentration               Hot Seat

whats missing

What's Missing? game

Show students the pictures/word and then tell them to look away.  While they do so, go ahead and touch a word block to cover it.  Then, let them guess what the hidden word is.  If guessed correctly, give points and/or praise.  Repeat this process as much as you like until you are ready to move on. 

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remember it

Remember It game

Have students read/identify all of the word blocks in order, from the left to right, top to bottom.  Once all words have been identified, cover one or two wordblocks by touching it/them.  Then, have students repeat each of the words again, including the covered words.  Then, hide more word blocks.  Repeat this until all word blocks have been covered.

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bit by bit

Bit By Bit game

In Bit By Bit, you or the students can reveal a picture bit by bit by touching one of the on screen cover blocks.  Students should try to identify the picture as soon as they know what it is.

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ufo grabber

UFO Grabber game

UFO Grabber is similar to the coin operated claw machines you might find in a mall or arcade.  In this game start by saying a word that the students should try to grab.  Have a student try to catch that word by pressing the 'GO!' button.  To send the UFO down, press that button again.  The student should identify the picture.  If they catch the word you said, give extra points.

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Pictionary game

This classic party game is perfect for the classroom.  A student comes to the front.  Whisper a vocabulary word to that student.  The student then tries to draw it on the board.  The other students should try and guess what it is.  If guessed correctly, give praise or points to the student that drew and to the student that guessed.

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time bomb

Time Bomb game

In this game, assign an order to your students such as lining them up one by one (or if online, assign them letters or numbers).  Then, choose a time, either 30 or 60 seconds.  Then, students should quickly try to identify as many words as they can in the given time.  One student identifies one word and moves on.  In the end, students are shown how many words they got correct.

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race to touch

Race to Touch game

Two students or teams go head to head to see who can earn the most points.  One student stands on the left, the other on the right.  Say a word and they should press the word block accordingly.  The game will highlight the team's word block that touched it first.  Decide if it's correct or incorrect to award points.  Keep playing until the necessary points have been earned (teams mode) or you are ready to move on (players mode).

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spin off

Spin Off game

Touch the spinner once to start it up.  Touch it again to stop it.  Students should read/identify whatever the spinner stops on.

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slow reveal

Slow Reveal game

Touch the mystery block to make it a bit smaller.  Do this again and again until the students can correctly identify the picture beneath with only a little bit of it showing.

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find it

Find It game

In Find It, students are shown a word block that they need to find.  Students/teams take turns choosing a word block to uncover until the word is successfully found.  Once found, you can choose a new word to find by hitting reset.  Play until you are ready to move on.

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jewel catcher

Jewel Catcher game

For Jewel Catcher, students are divided into two teams.  The teams take turns to compete to dig for valuable jewels.  Once a jewel has been caught, teams need to correctly identify a number of vocabulary words equal to the value of the gem.  The first team to score 8 points wins!

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quick flash

Quick Flash game

In Quick Flash, a picture is hidden.  You can touch the white box to make it disappear for a fraction of a second. Students get a peak at the picture before it is covered again.

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reverse charades

Reverse Charades game

In this game, one student comes to the front of the class and looks away from the board.  Then, highlight a picture by touching it.  The other students should use their body to act out the picture.  The student at the front should guess what it is.

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spy glass

Spy Glass game

The screen is submerged in darkness and students must use the spy glass to try and find a picture/word that you say.

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Concentration game

In this classic memory game, students try to to match a picture with itself by revealing what's under the mystery blocks.  You can choose to have students match a picture with a picture or a picture with a word.

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hot seat

Hot Seat game

In Hot Seat, put a chair at the front of the class, facing away from the board.  One student sits in this chair.  Shuffle the pictures.  Other students must give that student clues as to what the words are in the order they are shown.  They can use body language, describe it, or even spell the word (up to you).  If students get the words correct or incorrect, mark it as so and move on.  Award points based on score.

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How to: Activities

Each lesson contains a variety of practice activities.  These activities allow your students to practice the vocabulary in a variety of ways, including using them with key sentences, spelling, and word matching.  Some practice activities even allow students to connect the current topic with previously learned material.

Stand Up Sit Down           Coloring                 Listen and Sort              Patterns               Match All

Pronoun Practice              Word Match          Spell It                             Hungry Hungry



In a Coloring activity, students can color the vocabulary word or a part of that word (such as hair or clothing).  Simply say a vocabulary word and a color.  Students can touch the color and then that vocabulary word to color it. 

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stand up sit down

Stand Up Sit Down

In Stand Up Sit Down, highlight a picture or word and then say something about it.  You may say what it is, what it can do, what color it is, or anything else that comes to mind that fits what you're talking about.  If true, students should stand up.  If false, students should sit down.  You can even substitute other actions for 'stand up' and 'sit down'.

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listen and sort

Listen and Sort

Say four of the words in any given order.  Students should listen carefully and drag the word blocks
into the correct order.  Remember your order so that you can repeat the list if necessary as well as to confirm when students are correct.


Students need to complete a pattern that you make using the keywords.  To start, drag some pictures into the blank spaces provided and make the beginnings of a pattern.  Then, students should finish the pattern.

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match all

Match All

In a Match All type of activity, you say a sentence and students need to match the vocabulary that they hear together.  They do this by dragging the relative keyword into the appropriate blank under the target vocabulary.

Examples: "Father likes bananas."  "I see with my eyes."

Once students have matched all of the pictures, you can reset the activity and continue with new pairings if you wish.  Students can even make their own pairings and have other students match them.

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pronoun practice

Pronoun Practice

This activity is similar to Match All.  You are shown 3 pictures that represent 'he', 'she', and an 'it'.  Say a sentence that matches a pronoun with a vocabulary word.  Students should drag the vocabulary word to the pronoun's blank space. 

Examples: 'It likes blue.'  'He eats apples.'  'She doesn't like cats.'

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word match

Word Match

Students are presented with a picture and four words.  Drag the word that matches the picture to the blank space.  Repeat until all words have been completed.

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Spell It

Students are presented with a picture and a number of a letters that can be put together to spell the vocabulary word the picture represents.  Drag the letters to the correct spaces to properly spell the wo

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hungry hungry

Hungry Hungry

The dog is hungry and wants to eat vocabulary words!  In a dog voice, tell students what the dog wants to eat.  Students drag the chosen keyword to the dog's food bowl.  Press the confirm button for the dog to eat the vocabulary word.  Continue until all words have been eaten.

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How to: New Words Introduction

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The New Words section of the lesson allows you to easily teach the new vocabulary of the lesson.  When you open it, students are presented with eight vocabulary words covered by clouds.  You can reveal these pictures in two ways:

1. Student Discovery:  Students can choose the order that the pictures are learned.  They choose a picture to reveal by touching the cloud covering it.  The cloud will disappear.  You can then touch the picture and you will be taken to its slide.  Repeat the process until all words have been learned.

2. Guided Presentation: If you decide to introduce the vocabulary, touch a the cloud covering a picture to reveal it.  Click on the picture to go to its slide.  Teach students the word and repeat the process until all words have been learned.

After returning to the new words screen once a new word has been learned, point to the pictures students have learned so far and have them repeat the words before moving on to a new word.

Once all words have been learned, an arrow will be accessible on the bottom right of the screen.  Click it to be taken to a new activity: Listen and Touch.  For this activity, invite a student or two to come to the front and you can say a word and that student much touch the word and say it.  When touched, the picture will flash.  Do this several times with each student to reinforce the vocabulary.

Optional: During Listen and Touch, other students can tell the students the vocabulary words to touch.  This can involve all of your students


How to: Presentation

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The lesson presentation is a simple and guided activity that lets you reinforce the new vocabulary in context.  The presentation introduces the lesson's key sentence structure and gives students the opportunity to practice. 


There are a few different methods you can go about when teaching the presentation and it can vary depending on your students' level.  Here's a brief rundown of how I approach the presentation in my class.

Step 1: Picture Walk: Guide your students to talk about the picture.  They should identify what they see in the picture and answer some simple questions about it.  Center the questions around


Example questions: What do you see?  What is that?  How many ---- do you see?  What is it doing?  Is it big?  What color is it?

Step 2: Keywords and Sightwords:  If possible, I have my students check the presentation sentences for words that they know, such as sight words or other useful words.  Then I direct their attention to the new word in the sentence.  They have previewed the words prior to the presentation and might be a little familiar with it.  Chances are, they are not that comfortable with it yet and we'll read/recite the word a few times together while I guide their eyes across the word.

Step 3: Reading/Reciting: Next, we read the presentation sentence together.  If possible, we will use TPR (body language) when reading to help reinforce the words and meaning of the lines. 

Step 4: Repeat until finished: We repeat steps 1-3 until the story is finished.

Step 5: Further Practice: Once the presentation has been finished, you can practice the material further with built-in practice activities or games.

If your students are unable to read, use the presentation text to help you with the teacher talk when teaching these pages.


How to: Review

The last part of the HEE lessons is the Review section.  This section is intended to be used at the beginning of the follow up class after already teaching the lesson.  With it, you can quickly review the vocabulary words and sentence structure.


It's a simple enough section. 


Touch a picture to display it and have students identify it. 


Press the word/pics button to switch between displaying just the word or a sentence using the word.

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