In my opinion, the value of the game is in how good the questions are. You can integrate lots of CI and thinking into the games, but you need to be purposeful in how you ask the question. I am still working on writing better and better questions. At the beginning of the year, I limit my questions to just a couple types of questions- what, how, etc. and keep the questions simpler in the games. By simpler I mean that the question is more basic and the answer is likely shorter as well. As the year goes on, I gradually increase the complexity of the questions and the answers, including making them longer as well. They have to read through and comprehend much more text in order to play the games by the end of the year. But since they are engaged and having fun and have been built up to it, they don't complain about the amount of reading required of them in order to answer the questions. I also aim to integrate questions about grammar and culture into the game as it relates to what we are learning about to support growth in those areas as well.
To make things more efficient when planning, I have found it helpful to write a set of questions about the story/topic that I will then use in multiple tools- Quizlet, Quizlet Live, Kahoot, Quizizz, as well as low tech games. This also saves me time in trying to think of the next question as I make games. It helps the kids because they see multiple instances of the same question and it ends up working a bit like learning individual words or chunks of language, just now it is answers to questions. I like to have Martina Bex's handout on Reading Comprehension Questions (free on TPT!) handy to help keep me on track. I do tend to create most of my questions and answers in Spanish for quiz games though because my purpose is a bit different with the games than it would be in a reading comprehension activity (because they are answering questions about the same story in multiple formats).
1) Quizlet/Quizlet Live:
Quizlet is a multipurpose site that began with flashcards and now offers a variety of other individual practice activities. The latest release of Quizlet Live as a class game was a huge hit this past spring. If you have not seen it, it is worth checking out.
How might you use Quizlet/Quizlet Live?
A) As basic group flashcards to establish meaning of words. Show the TL and have students guess the English (in my case) equivalent. This is a quick couple minute or less activity to get the kids thinking about the words. It is low stress and interesting because they haven't seen any or most of the words before. It is effectively a guessing game and they think it's fun to see if they guessed correctly.
B) To play Quizlet Live- I like to do this 2 different ways
a) To establish meaning/give students a chance to see words before a story/other CI activity- depending upon the level of students I might use Spanish to English, but I also use a context clue in Spanish to match to the word in Spanish
b) After the story/CI activity, Quizlet Live works well for Questions and Answers about the topic. As I am writing however, you could also use this as a prediction activity for students reading say the next chapter in a novel asking the questions as what might happen next.
Kahoot is a pretty well-known quiz game. Please check it out at https://getkahoot.com/ if you are unfamiliar with the specifics.
How might you use it?
I have used it similarly as described about Quizlet. I have also used it to introduce brand new vocabulary to 6th graders who came through a 20 minute class to see some things we do in Spanish as part of a mini lesson.
Other things I do to try and get in more CI and reps are integrating discussion of ordinal numbers periodically during the game by asking who is in what place, by talking about numbers correct or incorrect on the questions, etc. I don't do this every round though or it slows down the game. If there are too many wrong, then I slow down the game and discuss what was wrong and help them out with "tricks" in the questions.
Quizizz if you have not seen it has a similar format to Kahoot, however it is individually paced. Students see the questions on their screen and then touch/click on the correct answer. Memes pop up to tell them how they did and students are ranked in order. I let them use code names if they do not like to have their name known.
How might you use it?
Once you have your questions, it is relatively quick to put them into a Quizizz as well. Quizizz has not been as popular as Quizlet Live and Kahoot, but variety is good so I like to use this as well. Here is a Quizizz I made to go with a presentation and story and activities Elena and I made to go with the Jesse and Joy song Espacio sideral. A Quizizz can be played live in class or also assigned as homework. I can see assigning it as homework the night before playing it in class to give students an edge for the class competition if you have a competitive class.
This is yet another format for asking multiple choice quiz questions. I have used this one the least because I found it last. However, it is another good option as well for quiz games. Here are a couple samples. You can hit the Preview button to try one out. It is an individually paced game. Quizalize differs from the others because you can access free quizzes here, but can also buy and sell quizzes.
5) Textivate: Textivate is a paid site that generates LOTS of activities from a story or your comprehension questions. Textivate is mostly best for individual practice, in my personal opinion. There is an option that provides the teacher with the link for lots of different options of activities for students to choose from. I like this one because it gives students choice in their individual practice. Once students have been trained in how to use it, this might be a nice option for part of a sub plan to have students continue to review the structures and story.
There's so many options! What do I pick?
The options can be overwhelming at first and depending upon your level of comfort with technology, they may seem even more so. If you are not using any of the following, don't despair. Pick one to start with. Kids really like Quizlet Live and Kahoot. They like the others as well. Try searching the site for existing games so you don't have to create the game yourself. Many of these sites might have something on a general topic and the more popular, long-standing sites like Quizlet and Kahoot might have more specific topics/songs/etc. that the other sites don't have. Learn to use one well and then when you're ready, try another. Quality of use is better than quantity.
Sub plans/Review day game marathon
The quiz games above can be great for sub plans and for periodic review days! The kids enjoy seeing how far they have come from their first story in what they know and comprehend and they get to review with a game. You also get to get a bit more mileage out of the work you put into the game and they are still getting input!
How does this all fit in to a unit?
If you are curious to see how Elena and I keep track of all of the unit resources, here is a Google Doc that shows you. It will also show you the story put together from the beginning. This is a couple years worth of 2 people creating resources, adding new things as we go. This year I hope to add in the co-creating element of the story with students as well and more personalization.
Please share your favorites as well!