Jeopardy: Large-group Games using Technology

As I have come to understand proficiency-based instruction, my games have become so much more interesting for students. In my current Jeopardy games, students are doing a guessing game from a clue. My clues use circumlocution to talk around the terms and lead students to the answer.

There are a few choices for large-group games on the Internet and Jeopardy is the one I like best. When students tell me they love Quizlet Live and Kahoot they aren’t expressing interest in the content of the game, they just like pushing the buttons. Quizlet Live is most often played as an identification game. The students give the term to name what they see. I know it can be played with a clue and an answer, but the site is set up in a way that promotes an identification game. Kahoot, while sometimes used in the same way, is conceived to be a game where students pick the right answer to a question. As an example, here is my best attempt on the theme of Daily Routine. An ok game, but still like a language exercise.

So where am I going with this? The game Jeopardy offers a format which is more of a guessing game, and, there is a great online technology tool to make these games.

coconut tree
Photo by Steshka Willems on

With the platform Fractile, I am able to make a true guessing game. See my game on Tourism in Martinique linked at the bottom of this page.

Factile has options that make Jeopardy better than the versions I have created in the past. You can have multiple teams playing, not just two, which keeps students more engaged. Also, there is a flashcard mode that I like to use to review material with my students before we play which seems to get them to pay close attention.

As you can tell, I have enjoyed playing Jeopardy with my students. I find that it can be a true guessing game that engages students, as opposed to a stilted language-learning game. And, with the technology tool Fractile, I can have students play in small teams and we can review before the game using the flash card feature. Another feature that you may enjoy from Fractile is that you can play my games as they are for free or you can make a copy if you join the site and edit my games to make them work for your class.

Tourisme en Martinique

Ma Ville


What makes a good game?

I used to play Jeopardy at the end of every unit. I liked it because years ago Jeopardy was novel for the student and the element of competition would get them motivated. Then I noticed that there was a lot of Jeopardy playing in other classes and the idea got a little old.

In addition, what I didn’t like about Jeopardy, at least the way I played, was that the students who weren’t currently taking a turn didn’t always engage. There was a lot of sitting around not actively listening. I researched some new game ideas and found that my favorite games are those where either small groups play concurrently; the class has to listen and keep track of what others say; or partners play.

I have compiled some new game ideas for you to mix it up in your class as well.

Exhausting your options  Have all the students sit on the tables. Begin by asking the first student a question, such as, Where did you go yesterday? After the student answers, repeat the question for the next student, and so on, continuing until a student cannot respond with a new answer and sits back down. Then change the question and continue to play until only one student remains and is declared the winner. From Sheri L. Petelle, ¡Vamos a Jugar!, MaFLA Conference, 1999  Document: Exhaust your options

Loto Humain  Students ask their classmates if they do the following activities. If able to answer yes to a question, the student signs their first name in that box. Each student may only sign a paper once and can’t sign their own. Students finish by having every box signed and yelling out Loto and the game will stop and we will go over who does what.  Document: Loto Humain

Outburst  Make a half sheet for each of a variety of topics. Write the topic at the top (for example, FAMILY) and then vocabulary words underneath (la mère, le cousin). Divide the class into teams of 5. All teams play at the same time. One player from the team is handed a half sheet on a clipboard and tells the topic to the team members. Each team will have a minute to name as many items as possible. One point is awarded for each correct answer. Points are deducted for English. Play several rounds. The team with the most points wins. Idea from Diane Farrug and Catherine Fortin  Document: Outburst


For more game ideas and examples of games click here