Alphabet Adjective Zig-Zag Board Game

Digital Version: Free!
Paper Version: Free!

Recently I’ve been part of a lot of online discussions revolving around keeping students engaged online during synchronous learning sessions. There are a lot of good ideas out there, many of them using resources and tools that I too use and appreciate, but my best idea is still the same as it’s always been: GAMES! Today I’d like to share with you another of the digital ​activities/games that I’ve developed. And what’s better than a digital board game? A FREE digital board game! Just click the picture above, or button below, to go to Teachers Pay Teachers and have Alphabet Adjective Zig-Zag added to your Google Drive for free. Prefer a paper version? It’s free as well!

Using adjectives to describe nouns seems like a simple skill, but it actually requires a lot of vocabulary. Additionally, not all languages put the adjective before the noun, and sometimes my students struggle with correct placement of them in their sentences. Alphabet Adjective Zig-Zag is a board game that allows students to practice these skills in a fun way. 

The paper version of the game requires a letter die as well as a number die. I know from experience how easily students get distracted and confused when they have to utilize multiple sites and/or tabs, so I wanted them to be able to “roll” the dice without ever leaving the Google Slide deck the game was built in. Fortunately I am married to a full stack software architect and he came to my rescue. My wonderful husband programmed an extra menu item into Google Slides that includes both an alphabet and a numerical die that students can “roll” by simply clicking. The script I used in this game is available in my TpT store (along with others), simply use the buttons below to purchase your own copy. Each has a how-to-install video linked in the description of the product. OK, back to the game…

When I make games in Google Slides I always design the non-moving parts in PowerPoint, save them as an image, and upload them as backgrounds. As I’ve shared in the past, this prevents students from accidentally (or not-so-accidentally) deleting or changing the directions, questions, or other content. This game was no exception, and I started by recoloring my paper-based game board and saving it as an image. I then opened PowerPoint, resized my slide to be 17×11 (allowing me space to put the game board and directions on the same slide), and inserted the image. Next to the game board I added the directions so students will be able to refer to them as needed. After saving everything as images (click on “save as” and change the file type to .jpg or .png), I opened a new Google Slides file, changed the slide size (File, Page Setup), and inserted my saved images as the background on each slide.

The object of the game is to be the first player to reach finish. In order to advance, students must first obtain a letter (by rolling the alphabet die), naming a noun that starts with the given letter, an adjective to describe the noun, and use both the adjective & noun in a sentence. If the sentence is grammatically correct, the student then rolls the numerical die and moves his/her piece. An extra space can be earned (turning a roll of 4 into 5) by using alliteration (ie: The dangerous dog was contained behind a fence.). Here’s a short video showing how to play the digital version:

Two important things to remember when using the digital version of this game: the slide deck must remain in editing mode and you must make a copy (with editing rights) for each group. Students will not be able to access the extra menu where the dice are, or move their playing pieces, if the game is placed into present mode. Each group will need its own copy of the game (they’ll share the file and manipulate it from their different locations), with editing rights, in order to play as well. The game play (dice) menu will automatically load in each copy, you will not need to do anything special, though students may have to wait an extra 10-15 seconds for the menu to fully load before beginning. That seems like such a short time to wait, but I’m always amazed at how little patience students have when waiting for things to load, so be prepared to remind them.

My students have always loved the paper version of this game and I can’t wait to play the digital one with them. One last tip: at times I’ve wanted to have a record of how my students used adjectives, so I instructed them to write down the sentences they used on a piece of paper. If needed you can obtain this same type of record with the digital version. Simply have the student right click on the space where his/her piece is sitting, choose “comment,” type out the sentence​, and click “Comment.” This will allow you to see who said what at a later date. Happy gaming, everyone!