Saturday, June 23, 2012


Battleship the game differentiated for EFL

We aren't talking about the movie!

So much of my teaching I steal from teachers I had when I was in high school. I remember a go to game for my Spanish class in high school was battleship. The first day playing the game normally takes a while, but since students aren't always familiar with the game, but after that it is a breeze!

The best part is you can personalize this however you want! You just need a worksheet with two grids on it (one will be your ocean and the other one is the partner's ocean.

If you are unsure on the rules of battleship you can check out this simple video:

The difference is instead of saying "B-3" you would practice the target language.

If we were studying past participles it would be, "You called him Susie?" Or, "You called the pizza place." or whatever. You can make the Subjects famous people, teachers in the school, or just generic.

You can make the game easier by using pictures instead of words (have the rows be pictures of clothing and the collumns be colors)

If you don't feel comfortable making your own there are many templates available online. A search in Teachers Pay Teachers yields multiple teachers offering their templates for free (if you haven't signed up yet it is free just click here) .You can also find teachers willing to share their battleship games on busyteacher
Remember that these are provided for free but teachers REALLY appreciate comments/reviews.

Now, how can you differentiate the game?
You can make the game itself more difficult by having them play with more than one player, or by having the games altered a bit (each ship gets so many shots, if a ship sinks, it can't shoot anymore) This video explains altered rules pretty well

You can make the grammar more difficult by making them change the type of grammar with each shot (so if they are reviewing appositives the first shot has to have the appositive for the subject, the second for the object, etc.)

To make the game easier provide prompts and models on the target language (or a cheat sheet with conjugations of verbs you are reviewing, words you are using etc.)

Even though technology is giving us possibilities in the classroom it is important to remember the old stuff too!

Let me know if you can you think of any other ways to differentiate this game? Or feel free to contact me if you need a template and are having problems with the other sites.


  1. This is a great idea; it sounds like lots of fun and has many variations.

    John Kongsvik

    1. It is a blast! A great way to practice repetition with students enjoying themselves the whole time! :-)

  2. Great idea! I'd forgotten how much I used to play this game during my years as a student. I'll definitely try it with my classes

    1. It was a go to in my high school Spanish classes.


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