(I thought it might be helpful to readers and myself if I described some of my favorite activities from time to time.)
This is basically “Catchphrase,” a game by Hasbro. I use it to review vocabulary. One student randomly selects a vocab word from a hat and then tries to get his or her classmates to guess it. They can say any word except the vocabulary word itself.
What you need: the vocabulary words they’ve already been working on, each written on a separate index card or a scrap of paper.
Here’s an example of how I used Guess the Word to practice the names of jobs in my Level 1 class.
Scaffolding: We played this game early in the unit, so the words were still relatively new to the students. First we went over what all of the words meant. I wrote the words on the board, elicited definitions from students, and wrote those down too. The students copied them down. Then, I erased just the vocab words, leaving the definitions on the board.
Modeling: I held up an index card with a job on it (carpenter) with the blank side toward the students. I said, On my card, there is a job. It’s a secret. At this point I held it close to me, protecting the information. I will tell you about it. What job is it?
I made a show of reading the card to myself, looking up at the ceiling to think, and then gave some clues: they build things, they use wood to build.
Here somebody guessed “construction worker.” I was being vague deliberately so that the modeling would last long enough to get some flow. I said they were close, and added, they build tables, chairs, and cabinets.
They guessed carpenter, and I showed them my card as I told them they were correct.
I immediately asked for a new teacher. I had one of the more advanced students come up first just to make sure the process was clear, and it went off without a hitch. She picked out one of the cards I presented her with, gave clues, and told the class when they were right. Each student came up and gave clues for a word.
Other content possibilities:
- practice descriptors – if you’re working on adjectives, write nouns on the cards so that the clue-giver has to list appropriate adjectives for the class.
- spelling – have the clue-giver read the word and ask, “How do you spell that?” The class will spell out loud to the clue-giver, who will write down the class’s answer on the board.
- verb charades- write verbs on the cards and have the clue-giver mime the action instead of giving verbal clues.
- advanced – use this to practice advanced vocabulary (mostly nouns and adjectives) just as I described above, but split the class into teams and have them compete to get the most correct the most quickly.
- low-beginning- have words and pictures on each card. Have matching word/picture cards (or even objects, like plastic foods). The clue-giver should read the word, and then two students should race to hold up the matching card or object.