TeachingEnglish
      Gap Fill Gamble

      This is a game to make any gap-fill task or cloze texts (reading tasks with gaps) more exciting.

      You need an envelope full of small bits of paper. Chop up a few pages of scrap paper for this. Students compete against one another in pairs. Give each pair a bunch of small bits of paper to keep on their table. Explain that they are going to compete against their partner to win as many bits of paper as possible. Each one is worth one point. You are going to read some sentences with gaps in. When there’s a gap you’ll say ‘beep’. They must write the beeped out word on a bit of paper without their partner seeing. Set a 5 second time limit and then say, “Okay, turn over”. Both of the students turn over their papers at the same time. If both are correct, leave them on the table to accumulate. If both are wrong, leave them on the table to accumulate. When one student is right and the other wrong, the student who is right wins all the accumulated cards that have gathered, and the piles start again on the next question. This is great for practising prepositions, such as the time prepositions in/on/at which students often make mistakes with.

      For example:

      • My birthday is ____ “beep” November 22nd.
      • I have English class _____ “beep” Wednesdays and Fridays.
      • School starts _____ “beep” 8.30 am.
      • I’m going to Cornwall ____ “beep” the holidays.


      When you have done ten or so sentences, stop the game and get students to count how many bits of paper they won. Rather than having just one or two winners in the class after a game, the great thing about this one is that half the class win as each pair has a winner.

      (Thanks to Nicole Taylor for sharing this one in a training session a few years ago.)

      By Jo Budden
      First published 2009

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