Last Updated on February 1, 2023
A great feature that I use during all of my lessons on Cambly, is screen share! Once I have completed the Cambly lesson slides, I then screen share other activities, games and books until the end of class! In this post I’ll give you a quick run down on how screen share works and afterwards I’ll share some of my favourite resources that I use with my students!
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ESL Games To Play On Zoom/Online Classes
This is partly for my own benefit too, I collect so many websites and I usually end up forgetting which ones have the good activities! These won’t be appropriate for everyone, I teach mainly young students so many of my websites are aimed for beginners.
One of the biggest things that comes with screen sharing content, is that the student is unable to interact with the game themselves. For this reason I try to pick games where they can tell me what to click, whether that’s by numbers boxes, or colours etc. This also helps with encouraging speaking!
There are some games and sites, such as Whiteboard Fox, where you can share a link and you can both access the same interactive page at the same time (upload images like word searches). However, I find this difficult with younger students that are using an iPad, rather than a computer. Plus they are then able to do things themselves without actually conversing.
I also use a browser extension so I can write on the pages I am showing (see below for the one I use).
I also use free ESL games and resources as much as I can. I teach on Cambly Kids and in all honesty, they pay below UK minimum wage. For this reason I try to find games that don’t involve subscriptions, but some people do and that is their choice. However, I find all of these following resources more than do what I need/want from them.
Liveworksheets has so many great interactive worksheets on lots of different topics. If you click on advanced search you can filter by age. It’s great for reading passages, counting, sounds, CVC words, ‘who am I’ riddles and more!
ESL Reading Activities (& Phonics Activities)
Some tutors will read books to their students but I find that I’m then talking too much so I like to use books and websites that the student may be able to read.
Starfall is great for young learners. Some of the parts of the website you have to sign up for, but I only use the free sections. I use ‘Learn To Read‘, that has 15 books with moving pictures, and you can click and enlarge words that show you how to sound them out. There are also phonic sound activities for word family beginning sounds, Magic – E and more. I also use the tiny blue ‘CAT‘ box near the bottom. This has a CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) word machine for the short vowel sounds. It’s a fun animated way of showing flashcards.
Oxford Owl is used for teaching children to read in the UK. You can sign up for a free teacher account which gives you access to a range of free ebooks (such as Biff, Chip & Kipper, fiction books and non fiction). They are colour coded by level so get gradually harder and slowly introduce more advance sounds and words. This works for younger readers and the older child students.
Wilbooks is also arranged by grade level up to third grade (USA). I use the free books but there is a subscription too. They focus more on repetition sentences compared to the Oxford Owl books, which are more like stories.
Progressive Phonics has some PDF ebooks that work on different phonics sounds.
Phonics Bloom has phonics games. You can subscribe to get access to more. ‘Yes No Yeti’ is good for students that can read and understand some words and then answer yes or no to the question. ‘Flash Cards’ are flashcards but on a fun pirate ship (student says word, you click if they get it right or not). ‘Tricky Trucks’ is similar to ‘Flash Cards’ but with harder words.
ESL Spelling Games
ABCya is AWESOME. I love ABCya, Submarine Spell is great for those learning to spell too. Unlike Education, it doesn’t have pictures so you’ll have to quickly unscramble the word and say it to the student. More leaning on the reading side, Alphabats is good for reading and teaching rhyming words.
ESL Games For Beginners
ABCya is also great for games for students with a low level of English. I use a lot of the ‘Make A…’ games, such as Make An Ice Cream, Make A Pizza, Make A Cupcake etc. I encourage the students to tell me colours, shapes etc and then I build their creation.
Match The Memory is my ULTIMATE go to game for all ages! It’s great for screen share too, because you can put a grid of numbers and letters over the cards. Simply get the student to pick what card they want by calling out the letter and number they want ‘A1 and C2’. The students do ideally need to recognise A, B, C and D and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. You can search for a whole range of things from TV shows and movies, fruit, animals, match games that are picture to picture, picture to word or word to word. There are CVC words, plurals and more and the students seem to love it. Once we have found all the pairs, I go back over the vocabulary.
Baamboozle has a huge variety of topics and my competitive students LOVE it! With the free version you can play with 1 team or 2. All the cards are numbers and the questions are worth points. You can search for simple things like alphabet, princesses and Pokemon, ice breaker questions and more. Some of the cards do have things like lose points, steal points and swap points though!
ESL Kids Games has a range of different games but I tend to use the picture reveal game. It has a grid of 24 squares and you can choose to have them labelled with numbers, letters, colours or ordinal numbers. They have 4 categories: animals, body parts, furniture and clothes. The students can name a square to reveal and try to guess the picture underneath. There are also some other games that are good for more advanced students, such as Hangman, Scattagories, ‘Name 5’.
Chess – Maths Is Fun I have a student that loves playing chess with me! The grid is numbered so they just need to say things like ‘B2 to B4’ and I then move their piece for them.
These are just some options of activities that I’ve found work well for me and my teaching but there are a lot of other activities that tutors use too!
How To Screen Share On Cambly (& Cambly Kids)
First things first, Cambly doesn’t seem to like Macs, it took me ages to even work out how to screen share because nothing seemed to work! (ManyCam doesn’t seem to work either). So please keep in mind that if you use a different type of computer, the other screen share options may work too. This method works for both students using computers and mobile devices. Cambly works best when you use Chrome as a browser. I also use an incognito window.
1. Have Cambly open in one window but open a SECOND WINDOW with website tabs to share
I have my Cambly window taking up the full width of my screen. The 2nd window I minimise to half size (grab the right had side of the window and minimise to the size required). When the 2nd window is ‘in front’, I am still able to see the student’s video and the classroom timer underneath. Most websites have ‘mobile versions’ so many websites will adjust to still function in a small window. Open a new tab in the 2nd window for each of the websites that you might like to share.
2. Click the screen share function in the Cambly classroom
There are now a couple of places to pull up the screen share function on Cambly. I usually use the one that looks like a little TV that is above the chat box on the right hand side. I have circled it in the image below.
(The other images are: 1. the incoming call bell | 2. screen share | 3. mute sound/student | 4. mute tutor microphone)
3. In the pop-up, click ‘Chrome Tab’
A window will pop-up, click on the 3rd option that says ‘Chrome Tab’, this will list all the tabs that are open within the 2nd browser window. Click on the name of the one that you’d like to share and click ‘share’ at the bottom. It will pull the 2nd window in front of the Cambly classroom, which is why it’s a good idea to shrink it slightly.
4. Controlling the screen shared website
The student WILL NOT be able to interact with a screen share window in the same way that they can the regular lesson slides. They can only see what you are pointing at with the curser, so it’s a good idea to find activities where the student can tell you what to click etc. You will have to control the screen shared website from its original tab, not through the projected version in the Cambly classroom. You can scroll and zoom etc and it will show up in the classroom.
When you screen share, if you wear a headset the student won’t be able to hear sound unless you hit the small share audio button. This is ‘new’ so isn’t in the above image. It will appear in the bottom left corner. I still try to find sites that don’t need sound. If they do I’ll mute it because otherwise it’s too much going on in my headset!
5. Download a ‘web paint’ extension
There are several different options of Chrome extensions, but I use Web Paint. By clicking on the ‘puzzle piece’ on the top right, next to the URL, you can pull up a drawing feature which allows you to draw on top of any web page. This works great for reading as you can underline words for the students to see, circle things etc, in the same way that you can draw on the slides within the Cambly classroom. You can change pen colours too!