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15 fun gapfill task games

1. Musical gapfills Give the students the lyrics of a song with some words blanked out. It is best if those are words they can guess through rhyme, collocation, logic or grammar. They then listen and check their answers. 2. Video gapfills This is similar to Musical Gapfills, but using part of a script from […]

1. Musical gapfills
Give the students the lyrics of a song with some words blanked out. It is best if those are words they can guess through rhyme, collocation, logic or grammar. They then listen and check their answers.

2. Video gapfills
This is similar to Musical Gapfills, but using part of a script from a video. This can either be a whole monologue or dialogue, or lines from throughout a 5 to 20 minute segment that have been selected for the language they include.

3. Memory gaps
With this game, you can make gapfills stimulating to more parts of the brain and more manageable by doing a gapfill with something they have already seen. This allows students to use their memory as well as their language knowledge. Ways of doing this include using the same gapfill another time (with the same or different gaps), using a listening script or reading you have already used for comprehension tasks, or using a text that students have created themselves.

4. Bigger and bigger memory gaps
In this variation on Memory Gaps, students try to remember a short text as it is erased word by word until the whole thing has disappeared, and then do a gapfill with the same text.

5. Challenge my gaps
Students make gapfill tasks for each other. This can be done with Tippex, by blackening out words on an OHP slide, with a wordprocessor, or by erasing words from a text on the whiteboard. To make sure students think carefully about what words they choose and to make the tasks they create possible to complete, tell teams they must only put gaps where only word could go in and take away points if other teams manage to find more than one possibility for the word in any gap.

6. Paired gaps
In order to make students think more carefully about why certain words go in certain gaps and to give them more clues on each answer, you can give gapped sentences in pairs where the same word fills each gap, e.g. both sentences need the same preposition. These sentences can either be written next to each other or (more interesting and challenging) matched by students at the same time as they are filling the gaps. This can also be done with more than two sentences for each missing word.

7. Otherwise paired gaps
In this variation on Paired Gaps, the two missing words are not the same but are related in some other way such as being opposites, easily confused words, the same part of speech, having the same first letter, the same vowel sound, the same number of syllables etc.

8. Gapfill snap
In this fun variation on Paired Gaps or Otherwise Paired Gaps, the sentences with gaps are given to students as a pack of cards and they play Snap with them, taking turns turning over their cards and shouting “Snap!” when they think the gaps of the last two cards can be filled by the same word.

9. Gapfill pelmanism/ pairs/ memory game
In this slower version of Gapfill Snap, the playing cards are spread face down on the table and the students take turns trying to find pairs of cards that match.

10. Gapfill dominoes
This is another game that can be played with cards made from the same worksheet as Gapfill Snap and Gapfill Pelmanism, but this time the cards should be cut out so two (not matching) sentences are attached to each other. As in the game dominoes, students take turns trying to make chains of matching cards until the winner has no cards left in their hands.

11. Fill me in!
Give all the students the word to go in the gap, start reading out the sentence slowly, and get them to lift up the right word or shout out the answer whenever they think you have reached the point where the gap will be. This can be played before or after a gapfill task.

12. Pairwork gapfill
In each pair, one student has the missing words from the other student’s sentences. Without showing their worksheets to each other, they decide together which word goes in each gap.

13. Check your answers twice
Give the students the answer key, but with one mistake. Students bet on which answer is wrong.

14. Gapfill, but no gap
Give them the missing word for each sentence, but with the sentence rewritten so they can’t see the gap. The task is to find the right place to put the word that was the answer to the original gapfill task. Then later in the lesson or in a later lesson give them the gapped sentences for the same task.

15. Fill me with phonemics
Give them the answers/ hints as phonemic symbols to provide a hint for the answer and to provide pronunciation and phonemic symbol learning practice. These hints can either be next to each question or (for a more challenging task) mixed up.

Written by Alex Case for TEFL.net April 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

2 Comments

  • K Hope says:

    Thanks for these. I was really tired of the average Joe gap fill. There interesting variations on a gap fill are exactly what I needed!

  • Aicha Khalfallah says:

    The use of games is a vrey important tool to keep the pupils motivated. Personally, I used fun gapfill task games to trigger my pupils’ attention and intelligence.

    Best wishes.

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TEFL.net : ESL Lesson Plans : Classroom Ideas : Games : 15 fun gapfill task games