A part of the B1 Project

The following Star Words games invite students to play with the keywords from our English at Level B1 Project and enable them to build vocabulary for creating COMPLEX, NUANCED and ORGANISED sentences.

Thanks to the @LessonToolbox for some of the inspiration for the following ideas.

Star Words : Episode 1 Complex

Star Words Episode I :

Complex Phrases

I'll include photos soon to show how this works.

Basically, it's a game based on Battleships (Touché, coulé en français!)

Each player has a grid of phrase parts in English that include elements for making B1 complex sentences.

Certain phrase parts are coloured (these are like the boats in Battleships). Each player's board has 2 phrases of 3 parts, 3 phrases of 2 parts and 1 phrase of 1 part. This grid is upright facing the player so that the adversary cannot see it.

Each player also has, flat on the table, the equivalent grid in French (native language).

Sheets are laminated so that players can use eraseable whiteboard pens to mark crosses during gameplay.

Maybe this image of one of my favourite 1970s boardgames will help you get the picture about Gameplay.

If not, here are the rules.

Thanks to @howard_science for the inspiration !


Player A reads a "phrase part" (a square) in French from the French phrase sheet.

Player B looks for and reads the equivalent phrase on his grid in English and announces "Miss" if the square is not coloured, "Hit" if the square is coloured and "Whole phrase!" if a single square phrase has been hit or if all 2 or 3 parts of a colored phrase have been hit.

(Basically, "Hit" for one square, "Whole phrase!" if the whole boat/phrase goes down).

Player B then takes their turn and so on.

The winner is the first player to hit all squares of all of the opponent's phrases OR the player who has the most hits when the teacher announces "Time's up!"

Star Wars : Episode II NUANCED

Star Words Episode II :

Nuanced Phrases

I'll include photos soon to show how this works.

This sheet includes the kinds of words that students should be adding to phrases to make them nuanced as required by the level B1.

There are two ways to play the game besides using it as a simple reading comprehension worksheet.



One pen. One dice.

One sheet is distributed to each student. Students will then work in pairs.

One students has a pen. The other has a dice.

The student with the pen begins to write the French translations of the Star Words in the white boxes.

The student with the dice must throw the dice repeatedly until they get a six at which point they take the pen from the other player and hand them the dice.

Play alternates between players and between dice throwing and writing until either one student completes the sheet or the teacher says "Times up!" and players count their points (1 point per word translated).

An example of my students playing One Pen One Dice in another context.


Ten tokens.

The sheet is distributed to each and every pupil. Pupils are then organised into groups of 3 or 4 according to class layout and customs.

Each group is given ten tokens (I use Poker Chips)

The "Team Picker" wheel can be used to select a random team who must choose a phrase that they feel confident about translating into French. According to their level of confidence they must bet a number of chips on their ability to translate the phrase correctly.

If they translate it correctly in front of the class they win the quantity of chips they bet.

If they translate it incorrectly they lose their chips.

Game play moves around the teams until all phrases have been completed.

A print and cut out sequencing exercise will be online soon.

Thanks to @MissMeyMFL and @spsmith45 for inspiring this one and for providing an overview that I have adapted here below.



Put students into small groups or pairs.

If in groups they should stand in circles.

One student utters a sentence : "I want to go to New York" or is provided a starter sentence by the teacher.

The next student (or partner) has to change one element in the sentence using the Star Words from the Level B1 COMPLEX/NUANCED/ORGANISED vocabulary , and so on

The teacher can decide on a time limit.

The sentence could easily relate to the topic you are working on. At advanced level a suitable sentence starter might be:

It also works if you start with one word and students add one word each time.

@MissMeyMFL sets out why this game and the phrases produced work so well

1. They involve multiple repetitions of words and chunks.

2. They allow for some creativity, humour and spontaneity.

3. They take no time for the teacher to prepare.

4. They allow each student to contribute to their ability - some will produce more complex substitutions or additions than others.

5. They can usefully revise language previously presented and practised.

6.They encourage prediction and collocation skills, useful for speaking, listening and writing. (Think of how Google searches work - you enter a word and the next most common word or words appear from previous searches.)

7. With advanced level students the game requires some long chunks to be held in memory then produced fluently -you could allow others in the group to provide prompts to help things along. This will be fruitful in subsequent oral assessments, no doubt.

8.The game requires no use of L1.

If you wanted to build a lesson plan around these games why not, as a second stage, get students to write down from memory resulting sentences and share them with the class? If you do this you may be wise to tell the class in advance that this is what they will do - this may focus minds even more.