Sunday, June 15, 2014


Let's play..... for five minutes or more
Games....teaching in disguise! So, whenever I have a few minutes to spare or I feel my learners are feeling a bit restless and they really just wanna get out of the door, I say, " Ok, let's play a game". Their little (or big) eyes light up and  I think, "Yes, we are back on track!" Today I will write about a couple of games that require almost no prep nor props whatsoever!!!You don't need any technology either. The only thing you may need is a white board and marker pens. Here are some (childhood) all time classics that will make the lesson more fun!
Warning: there may be a few twists to the games : )
Well, you all know this one, but may I suggest playing it in various ways like the teacher against the class, group A against group B or pair hangman ? Also, instead of hanging the man (?), you could also make it a bit more challenging for your learners by telling them they can only suggest wrong letters equivalent to the number of letters in the word you have chosen. So, for example, if you have chosen the word flower they can only suggest 6 wrong letters and then they get hung!
Skills: spelling, vocabulary

I Spy (with my little eye)
I used to play this as a child and now I play it with my students. If you have never heard of this game, this is how it is played. You look at something in the class but you do not tell your students what you are looking at. You then give them little hints about what this object looks like. So, you begin by saying, " I spy with my little eye something brown" they can make one guess and if they do not find it, you give them more information until they guess what you are describing.
Skills: vocabulary (especially adjectives)/speaking.

Word snake
Someone writes a word on the board and the next person needs to write a word that starts with the final letter of the previous word. So, for example, I write the word flower, the next person has to write a word that begins with an R e.g. Rug, then the next student has to write something that starts with a G and so on. If a student misspells something or takes to long to find a word, he/she is out of the game.
Skills: spelling, vocabulary.


Kill the text
I write a text on the board and then split the class into groups, then a person from each group chooses one word from the text and makes a sentence. By making a sentence with that word, the student kills the word. Once all words have been used to make sentences, the text is killed!
Skills: grammar/vocabulary/syntax

Grammar Noughts and Crosses
I bet you have played noughts and crosses at some point in your life. A good way to use this in class is by adding grammar points in the noughts and crosses grid. So in order for your learner to be able to write a nought or a cross, he/she has to use this grammar point correctly. I usually put tenses in the grid and the learners have to make sentences using the tense correctly.
Skills: any grammar point 

I went to the supermarket (chain game)
If you have a good memory, this is your game. If you don't, then... SKIP this one! So, I start by saying," I went to the supermarket and bought eggs." Then, the person next to me says," I went to the supermarket and bought eggs and milk." The student after that says, "I went to the supermarket and bought eggs, milk and carrots" and so on. You have to say the food in the right order and not forget any of them. I suggest you scaffold your learners by helping them with descriptions of the items if they are struggling to remember the words (never reveal the word though!).
Skills: this is a great way to revise vocabulary related to food.

Final thoughts
As we all know, there should be a bit of time for a game from time to time. Games are enjoyed by everyone, so play with ALL learners no matter why they are learning English. Oh, yes, mind my pics, will you? Do you know how hard it is to draw with a mouse?!?! : P

This post has been shortlisted for this month's (July) Teaching English-British Council blog award. If you like it, go to the Teaching English-British Council Facebook page and press 'like' where it says this post has been shortlisted. Thank you  for reading : D

Till next time.....


  1. Noughts and crosses can be played with vocabulary too. I used to write words on post-it notes and stick them on the board, so that the students don't see them. Under each word I write what a student should do with it (give synonyms, opposites, define, give a sentence), the other students have to guess the word

    1. Yes, great point! I even use it with a word from the academic word list in each box! Thanks for writing and reading : )

  2. Thank you for sharing. I also use the chain game with "I packed my suitcase and I put ..." to revise clothes especially.

  3. Great idea!! I will defo try that : ) thanks!!!

  4. Hi Joanna,
    Just to let you know that we’ve shortlisted this blog post for this month’s TeachingEnglish blog award and I’ll be making a post about it on today’s TeachingEnglish Facebook page, if you’d like to check there for likes and comments.


  5. Hi Ann,
    Thank you for letting me know!!!This is great and it makes me really happy : ). I am really grateful to the team of the TeachingEnglish facebook page. You give us the opportunity to share our views and I really appreciate that. Once again, thank you.

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