Images of different versions of craft dice and accompanying graphing sheets. Text = Using dice and graphing sheets to teach english

Dice and graphing sheets might be more commonly associated with a maths or science class, but they are extremely useful for developing English skills too. I like them a lot, not just because they help us teach ‘the whole child’ in a STEM or STEAM way (science, technology, engineering, arts, maths), but also because they promote a lot of language use in small groups. Small groups = Big practice! The game-like nature of dice, adds to the motivation children have to use the language they know. I also love that they work with such a wide range of ages. Even my groups of 4 year olds love these.

In this article, I outline some popular activities for using dice and graphing sheets to teach English. Follow these quick links to jump straight to the section that interests you.

You can also see a demonstration of how they are made and the standard game play in this video. Teaching tips and activity ideas are in the end segment.

Activities to do with dice (without the graphing sheets)

Dice for Shark in the Park games with images of characters from the story - shark, bat, girl
From the Shark in the Park Activity Pack
Dice from Peace at Last Activity Pack. Rooms of the house dice. Image shows living room, bedroom and dining room
From the Peace at Last Activity Pack
Daily routines dice. Images show go to school, wake up and have a shower
Daily routines dice

There are lots of games and activities that you can use with just the dice. The fact that there is an element of randomness to it, makes it more engaging for the kids. Practising language from a list, just isn’t as fun! Here are a few of my favourites:

Opening routines

Dice with question words

Pair and small group games

Actions dice

The variety of actions your students have to do when they roll the dice is only limited by your and the kids’ imaginations. Here are a few ideas:

Using graphing sheets

Rooms of the house graphing sheet from the Peace at Last Activity Pack
Shark in the Park story graphing sheet
Graphing sheet to use with 'daily routines'

There are a few different ways you can conduct an activity with graphing sheets. The first time I use them with a group, I demonstrate the activity with the whole class. Everyone is in a circle and I nominate different students to participate. I then set them off to play in groups or pairs.

Basic game play instructions

  1. One student rolls the dice.
  2. They perform the action that you assign (see ideas above).
  3. The student colours in one square for that dice item. They colour in the square nearest the bottom of the sheet.
  4. The game ends when one line is completed up to the top.
Example graphing sheet to practice daily routines - collaborative activity

Competitive play in groups – separate sheets

Each student has a separate graphing sheet. They play the game and when the 1st student completes a line, the game ends for the whole group.

Competitive play in groups – one sheet per group

Each group has one graphing sheet between them. Each student chooses a different colour. They should only use that colour for the duration of the game. The winner is the student who completes the first line.

Competitive play between groups – one sheet per group

In this version, students play together in groups as one team against the other teams in the class. You just need one sheet per group. To be honest, I never really make too much of the competitive element, but my very young learners seem to interpret it this way regardless! I like to make all the teams win in some way. For example, one group might reach to the top of a line first, but another group might have more squares completed in another section, another team might have been careful with staying between the lines while colouring, one group might have used more colours on their graph, etc.

Follow-up activities with graphing sheets

The activity doesn’t need to end when the graphing sheet is completed. There are plenty of opportunities to extend the activity to include more speaking practice, maths skills, or even reporting skills.

Using these activities in the lowest prep way possible!

You might be really pushed for time and don’t want to create dice and/or graphing sheets. We do have editable templates in our Templates Pack, which speeds things up, but if you’re looking for a no-prep option, try these options:

Image of a normal 6 sided dice

Less pretty but effective too! So, even if you don’t have templates ready, it’s easy to use all the activities above.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these activities and if you have any other ideas to add. Please add them in the comments below.

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