Story Cubes – Different ways to play


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Story Cubes are awesome for teaching English. Great conversation starters. But opening the box and looking at your student and telling them, Tell Me a STORY is a bit overwhelming.

I haven’t had a student that felt comfortable which such a big task. So here are some alternative ways to play with the cubes.

Pick 2

Roll any two dice and have the student say Which one is better and why?

Roll any two dice and say how they are same or different?

Roll All of Them

Reverse Scattegories – pick a letter and find words that start with the letter that match the cube. Can be the name of the thing, or an adjective that describes it.

20 Questions – using all the cubes on the table, pick one and let your partner guess what you have picked by asking 20 yes or no questions.

Put them in order – put all the dice in order of size, beauty, weight, and danger and ask why along the way.

What ways have you found to play with Story Cubes?




Describe the Scene – School and Classroom

We’re starting a new school year. I’m starting off with all the vocabulary associated with schools. The nouns: pencil, desk, teacher. The verbs: stand up, raise your hand, read and write. For grammar, I’m starting at the beginning, which for me is Present Continuous. Here are some Describe the Scenes for school and the classroom.







For vocabulary, English Worksheets does it the best:

Places at School

Classroom Objects

Classroom Language

Faster, slower, louder, quieter…

These girls have a great collection of videos online. Just like the Baby Brain Play videos, these are excellent chants / songs to do with small children. They have repetitive action that engages all of the child. The chants are easy to learn so parents can learn them too and repeat at home.

Once we’ve learned our Opposites, we then can move to these comparative words. Basically adding (-er) to the ending of adjectives we already know:

  • bigger
  • smaller
  • faster
  • slower
  • louder
  • quieter

I use these throughout the lesson. No matter what we are doing, the student can repeat a word back to me, and then I say, Say it LOUDER! When we are building something, I say Build it BIGGER!

It’s very easy then to show using just my hands and voice:

  • taller
  • shorter
  • higher
  • lower
  • happier
  • sadder

And we can add sticks (or in my case, pencils) for more hands-on fun.

Vocabulary expanders for English

That’s a lot of feelings!

Muzzy – Big and Small

This is the most basic concept  I can teach to very early beginners. Once they know a few good descriptive words I use them to check their progress through other concepts.


Give me the big ball. 

If they grab the correct one, I’ll know they understand the concept of give.


Another exercise for big and small is writing. I highly recommend Donna Young’s website. It has every combination of writing paper you could ever need. I often use the larger sizes for my small learners. I’ll write the word in pencil and let them trace over with a fat marker. For my older students, they use more of the college ruled paper.


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