If you ever ask your middle school students how they spent their weekend, you’ll probably get a mix of responses from sleeping, watching TikTok, and playing video games. Honestly, it doesn’t sound too much different from my own weekend plans! Our students love classroom games, and it makes sense why – they are a source of entertainment. And if you can bring learning and entertainment together, you’ve hit the jackpot!
Like I said already, our students enjoy games, so the biggest pro is the instant engagement. If my middle schoolers get an inkling that I am loading a classroom game, the crowd goes wild. Sometimes I even play along with them, and it makes for a fun added challenge. I will challenge them to beat me (and I don’t go easy on them!).
Classroom games are also a great way to informally assess students. Granted, as much as students are more engaged in these games, you will still have students who are just “spamming buttons”, as they say. But unfortunately, that’s bound to happen with any assignment. For the most part, I am able to get a clear picture of what my students know – and what we need to review. Most of the gaming platforms come with some sort of breakdown of student performance.
I also love these classroom game sites because you can use them when you’re in a pinch. Lesson finish early? Have short classes because of an assembly? Load one of the games, and you are set to go.
Whether you’re looking to add more engagement to your classroom, review for a big text, or simply mix up your daily routine, here are some of my favorite online classroom games that bring excitement to every lesson!
I am a big fan of Blooket! It’s a free site, except that recently they have been requiring a Plus account to host. They said this won’t always be the case.
You can host live classroom games, or you can set it to homework mode. This means you can use it for whole-class reviews, homework, stations, and more. Personally, I like to create study guides for the tests in Blooket and assign it as homework leading up to a big exam. My students prefer it over many other homework choices!
Kahoot! is the granddad, the OG, of all classroom games! Don’t quote me on this, but it’s one of the first games made specifically for classrooms. And teachers have rejoiced ever since! Because it’s a classic, I think students has become slightly worn out by Kahoot!, but I think it still has its time and place. (Plus, Kahoot! has now created their own game modes to rival Blooket and Gimkit).
Personally, I like to use Kahoot! for my tests. First, unlike a lot of the other platforms, I find it better suited for questions and answers, as opposed to just facts or vocabulary. It also has a grading feature, which makes it more fun for students – and super easy for teachers.
When using it to assess students, I do extend the timer on Kahoot! to two minutes, so students have ample time to read the questions and think about their answers.
Quizizz is great for informal and formal assessments. I have also seen them paired with TED Ed and BrainPop videos, which I think is genius. Like Kahoot, I think it’s one of the better platforms for longer questions and answers. I also like some of its “power ups” that it gives students (which you can always turn off, by the way). It will even prompt students to redo missed questions at times, which I think it a great feature.
There are a ton of pre-made quizzes already available, so before you spend time making your own – do a quick search on the platform. You can use other people’s quizzes, or make a copy and customize it (so you don’t have to start from scratch).
Speaking of finding pre-made quizzes, you can use my Impact of Columbus quiz I made for my students recently!
If you want to focus on vocabulary or fact practice, Quizlet is one of the best classroom games. There are several modes, from games to learn to spelling, with just a single set of “cards”. This is another site that has a ton of pre-made card decks, so before you create your own – do a search first.
One of my favorite loves is the learn mode with flashcards. It gives students a small set of cards to study at a time, and if they consistently get the card correct, it is separated from the rest. If they keep getting it wrong, it gets labeled as needing to practice more.
Recently, I had my students study the geography of India with a Quizlet deck. You can check out the deck here. Students can choose whichever mode they want to practice!
If you haven’t heard of Gimkit yet, you are about to be blown away by this classroom game. Gimkit really blew up during distance learning back in 2020 and 2021, and for a good reason. They have really interactive, genuinely fun games to play and learn with.
The downside to Gimkit is that they only give a few modes away for free. If you want to play some of the more exciting games, you have to pay for a membership, which is not cheap. (Unless you convince your admin to buy it for you! Win-win!)
I am truly obsessed with these classroom games, and so are my students. They are a great way to review, provide informal assessment, and review concepts all year long.