Digital Pop Up

Pop Up has been my favorite input game since the dawn of time, but Digital POP UP is so fun, it might just stick around long after this pandemic bites the dust.

In the original tried and true POP UP, students listen carefully to a statement that the teacher says, then they jump up to holler the translation. In the digital version, students play using Google Meets, Zoom or whatever you’re using to connect with your kiddos virtually. I have half my kiddos in person and half at home, but everyone joins the meet using their Chromebooks, even the Little Darlings sitting in my classroom. (Remind them to turn off their mics or else the sound will be unbearable and you’ll want to scratch your eyes out!)

Disclaimer: It wasn’t my brilliant idea to adapt POP UP using the Chat Feature of Google Meets, some marvelous mystery person shared it with me and try as I might, I cannot figure out who! If you are the Comprehensible Input version of the Tooth Fairy who leaves game ideas instead of coins, please let me know because I’d really love to credit you with this fabulous variation of POP UP!

To set up:

Everyone logs in and then teacher assigns the same number to two students. Like in the original, the teacher is sneaky about assigning kids of like ability the same number. (In other words two super star high flyers might both be assigned number 3). As the teacher is assigning numbers, she is also typing in the names on the Score Card, that is presented so everyone can see it. Grab a copy of the Score Card here! If you’re teaching Hybrid, you don’t need to keep all the At Home kiddos on one team and the In Person kiddos on the other. You can, but it works just as well to just think about their ability and not worry about their location. (If you’re lost, hang in there, I’ve got a video below that shows the set up!)

To play:

Teacher says a statement in comprehensible language while everyone types the translation into the chat but do not click submit until the teachers calls a number. The teacher says the statement slowly and multiple times to give everyone a chance to think about their translation and type it out…this is not a speed typing competition! As soon as the teacher says a number, the two students with that number “submit” their translation and the fastest one to pop up in the chat wins a point for their team! Ideally you’ll only have 2 chats coming in, but sometimes kids get real excited and accidently hit submit when it’s not their turn. It’s no big deal, we laugh and move on.

Like in the original, the teacher is strategic when calling numbers…she’ll call on high flyers for more challenging statements, and statements with lots of cognates for students who need more support. We don’t want to embarrass kiddos here! Teacher is keeping track of which numbers are called on this paper, which is printed out. DO NOT project this one for all to see! Disregard the point tally on the bottom In the original version of the game, the points are kept here, but in the digital version you’ll keep track points on the Projected Score Card, so everyone can see the points. See the indicators L and H above numbers in the photo below? Those are to remind me to give the Hs more complex statements and the Ls get more support!

Wanna watch how it goes down?! Wanna watch how the game is set up? Wanna watch an embarrassing amount of English in a Spanish 4 class?!

(Sometimes explaining a new game in your target language is a great way to give them lots of new and rich input. But sometimes teaching during a pandemic is really hard and you do what you have to do. Take your judgement elsewhere 🙂

And if you’re new here, at the bottom of this page is a place to enter your email if you’d like to be alerted of new blog posts. I’d be honored for you to join the party!


  1. I can’t tell you how much better I felt to hear you speaking so much English in your video- I have felt like the worst French teacher in the world all year due to the amount of English I have been forced to use. It’s just refreshing to see someone keep it real! This is EXACTLY how my classes have been going! Thank you!!!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you are too hard on yourself about the English- there is more Spanish in there than you think! Great activity!


  3. I never played the original PopUp, but I am DEFINITELY going to play this! So much engagement!! I love that everyone is (hopefully…) typing the translation, not knowing which number will be chosen to submit.

    Thanks for sharing another gem!


  4. This was the perfect thing in my inbox on a day where I knew I needed SOMETHING interactive! And I am in a synchronous hybrid so needed it to be able to be done digitally! WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER! At the end of the class, one of my on-line kids opened up his mic to say “That was so much fun!” (And I teach HIGH-SCHOOLERS!) Muchísimias gracias!


  5. HOLA. I am a HUGE fan of yours. I use all of your games in my class and when I need a new game or idea, your site is the one I go to! I was looking for a new way to do “Lucky Reader” because my classes are SO small this year that I don’t like to divide them into teams and they are so hesitant to answer questions in front of the class…. and I found this game which will work so much better.


    • So smart!! So they’ll read, then you ask a question to everyone, and everyone answers, then call a number? You could even have the winner draw a card (real or virtual) to reveal the points


    • I’m so excited about your suggestion to play The Lucky Reading game virtually that I’m working on a blog post! I’d love to credit you- if you’d like me to use your real name, send it to me (either here or through the contact link on the blog!)


    • Just give one kid (on the smaller team) 2 numbers. So maybe Jaydon is 2 and 10. (It’s even more stressful having two numbers, so I give that role to one of my highflyer kids). Everyone on the bigger team just has one number.


  6. I can’t wait to try this in my Latin class! I am always looking for ways to “dress up” the acquisition/comprehension and this sounds perfect!


    • I’d love for you to join the party! Just add your email address to the “subscribe” field at the top right of any post! Welcome!!


  7. No judgement here, just praise. As always, this is an awesome idea. Also, I jumped out of my seat when I realised that you are playing a game about episodio 3 de Gran Hotel! I use it with my kiddos too and they love to the point of only coming to class because of GH.
    Muchísimas gracias por la idea y la tarjeta digital.


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