My Favourite Classroom Games Continued: Part Two

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series My favourite teaching games

My Favourite Classroom Games Continued: Part Two

This is the second part of a series on classroom activities and games. You can read the first part here.

6. Anagram Picture Race

Improve your students’ listening to spellings

Listening to words as they are spelt out is an important skill and it is always tested in Listening exams. This is a fun way to practise. I use miniature white boards to make it more fun, but they are not essential.

You choose a word that can be easily drawn and convert it into an anagram. You then read it out and students have to write the letters down. Students will ask you to repeat letters, but you should continue reading the anagram with out stopping, before repeating the anagram. Your class have to solve the anagram, write down the answer and draw the answer. The first person to do so wins.

You can then let the winner read out the next anagram. Make sure they read the letters with out slowing down, stopping or repeat individual letters to keep it realistic.

7. What Has Changed?

Great for practising the present perfect

This is a really good activity to practise the present perfect for recent changes. This is a good excuse to bring props into the classroom, especially as you can combine vocabulary and grammar in one lesson. In particular I bring in a small glass of water and a small item of food like a cherry tomato. This lets your students practise eaten and drunk.

With your props in a visible location, ask students to study the scene. I write You have on the board three times and ask students to copy it into their notebooks. Once students are ready, they must close their eyes while you make three changes to the classroom. When you are finished, students open their eyes and must identify the changes and complete the three sentences. You can then repeat with new changes. Here are some examples with different verbs;

  • You have written / drawn on the board.
  • You have eaten the tomato.
  • You have drunk the water.
  • You have put on  a hat.
  • You have taken off your glasses.
  • You have opened / closed the book / window.
  • You have moved the chopsticks.
  • You have cleaned the board.

8. Roll a Letter

A useful way to introduce new vocabulary

I use this game at the start of a lesson to introduce new words, or words students may have forgotten. Students are in two teams, and each team has a set of words to guess and a dice. To make the game fair, try to keep the total number of letters similar or equal between the two teams. Before the game I write dashes on the board to represent the letters of each word.

Students take turns. They can either guess a word or roll the dice on each turn, but not both. Each time they roll the dice, they get one new letter. The letter is chosen by counting from the first letter, to match the number on the dice.

Letters that are already known are ignored when counting. There is a lot of luck in this game, as the vowels can be useless information, and the first letter is often critical. When a word is guessed or completed by the dice, you can stick a flashcard or draw a picture on the board. When a team guesses all of their words they win.

Can you work out what the words are? Answers at the bottom!

9. Sports elimination

Let’s practice comparatives

In this activity students practise comparing sports in a knock-out style format to find their favourite sport. First you ask students to name eight sports and write them on the board. Draw lines to show the knock-out format and ask students to copy it into their notebooks. They then fill in their winners for each match up.

They then have to explain their decisions to their partner. Adjectives and especially comparatives are the target language. By comparing things one by one they have more opportunities to use the comparatives. Once the activity is complete you can then have students practice superlatives to talk about their winning sport. This activity can also be used for jobs or other topics.

10. Pass the Parcel

Bring the party to the classroom!

A lot of traditional games can be adapted to the classroom. This works well with very young learners who often need a lot of repetition to learn their first words.

You will need a bag, some flashcards and of course some music. Students sit in a circle, passing the bag round and round as you play the music. When you stop the music, the student holding the bag must reach in and take a flashcard and say what the picture is. With a little practice you can stop the music on a different student every time.


The mystery words were ambulance and lightning.

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