Google-Based Activities for Language Learners

There are two kinds of teachers on this planet: those who have Wi-Fi in the classroom and those who don’t.

This is the second part of my post on Google-based activities. In the first part, I described a few Google-based games to play in the classroom (see JUST GOOGLE IT). The activities in my today’s post are also connected with Google but, unlike those in the first post, they might be used regardless of whether you have Wi-Fi in the classroom or not.

A few years ago, Google launched its Search Story Tool (*no longer available; don’t get discouraged, keep reading this post) to create and publish personalized search stories. Though the tool itself is no longer available, we could use the idea behind it to practise storytelling in the classroom and help students tell their stories in a fun and creative way.

Activity 1. Tell a Story

This activity is similar to the one based on images or sounds (see my post SOUNDS LIKE A STORY). You can use a YOU-TUBE video [e.g. Parisian Love, Fear of Speaking, etc.], 

Or make your own video (see my video TELL ME A STORY, GOOGLE in Activity 2 below) using any screen recorder (if you haven’t used a screen recorder for teaching yet, read Cristina Cabal’s post 15 Ways a Screen Recorder can Help you in your English Classes).

Or use a screenshot of your Google search history and get students to make a story based on the search history.


Activity 2. Guess the Story

1. Ask your students when they searched for something last.

*You may teach them some tricks of Google search.

1.Use quote marks around a phrase to search for those exact words in that exact order. E.g. “pie recipes”.

2. Exclude certain words using the minus symbol. E.g. pie recipes – meat pies.

3. Use OR to search for one or another term, not just all the terms.

4. Use the tilde to search both for the specific word and it’s synonyms.

5. Use the asterisk in place of a missing word or part of a word, which is useful for completing phrases, but also when you’re trying to search for a less definite article.

6. Use DEFINE: to learn the meaning of words.

See more here.

2. Split students into small teams and ask them to choose any famous story (e.g. Red Riding Hood, Romeo and Juliet, etc.) (alternatively, you may use some texts from their course book). Ask them to tell this story using Google search queries.


Red Riding Hood:

pie recipes

how to navigate in the forest

how to communicate with wolves

how to do voices



3. Ask the teams to read their ‘search story’ and get other teams to guess it (or reconstruct the story if they can’t guess it).

This activity may be used with students of any level. It will generate much laughter and help them focus on the key events of the story, key words, meaning and collocations.

Happy teaching!

Other resources:


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