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Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for the Engl i sh l anguage cl assroom
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Contents +++++.+..++.+.+......................................... 2
Introducti on +++++++++.+++++++++++.+.++++++++. .++++++..+....+.......+ . ..++...++..++.+. 3
Backs to the Board ++...+.+...................++......++.++++++..+....+.. 4
Balderdash ++++++++..++.++.+.++. +..+++...++++........+.++++++ .++++ .++.+++++++++++....+......+.. 5
Balderdash sample words .+..+............+.....++...+..+..+ ..... 6
Battleshi ps +.+++++++++++.++++++++++++.+.+.+.+++++++++++. ++. ++++++.++++..+++++.. +++.......+..+....+. 7
Battlesh ips grids ..++++.++..+.++++.. +.+..+......++...+.+.+......+................. 8
Blankety-Blank ++++ .++++++++++++.++... +.+. ..............+.+.++.+..+++.+....+... 9
Blockbusters ++++.++++.++.+++++.++++++++++++++++++.+.++++..++.+++++++++++++ +.+++++++.+.. 1 0
Blockbusters gri d ............++................................................. 11
Boggle ................................................................................................................................. 12
Chal lenge a ......................................................a .......................................a .... 13
Charades ........ a ........... . ...........a ....a ..a a ...... .......................... a a .... ...a ........ ............ a ......... 14
Collocati ons Ladder .... a .................. a .....a ............. a ............... .a ..... a ................... a ........ 15
Countdown Letters ................ : ..................................................................................... 16
Doublets +.+.+.+++........ ...............a . a .... a . a a ...... a .a a .. a .......a ..a ...... ................a ................. 17
Family Forunes ....+.+....+++.+................+.+.++.... a 18
Fami l y Forunes question i deas ...... .................. . ....++......... 19
Five Things ++.+++++.+++.....+.+..............++.++++++.....++++.++++ .+. 20
MasterWord .................................................... ........... .............................. ........ .................. . 21
Panic Word ......................................................................................................................... 22
Pi cti onary ............ .......................a ........a .. a ...... ...a ....a ..a .a .. ..... a .. a ........................... ..a 23
Quick Scrabbl e a ................... . a ....a . a .a ..........a ..... . a ........a .... a . .................. ..a .....a ...............a a ..a .... 24
Quick Scrabbl e grid ....................................... a .... .........................a . a ................. 25
Scatergories ..+..++.+.+...+.++.+. a ........+....................+.. 26
Smar Mouth +++++++.+++++++++++++.++++.+++.++.++.++...+.+..++++++++++.++++++++++++.++++++++ 27
Snatch +++++++.+.+++++++++.+++++.+++++.+++++.++++.++.+++.++.++.++++++++++++++++++++.++++++++++ 28
Taboo ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++ 29
Twenty Questi ons ++++++++.+++++++++++++++++++++.++..+++++++++++++++++++++++.++++++++. +++++++++++++++++++ 30
Wheel of Forune . +++.+++++.+.+.+.++++.++. +++++++. ++++.+.++++++..+.+. ++++++..++++..++++++++++++++++++++++++ a +++.++++++++ 31
Wor Ioughts & Crosses ++++++a + _................. 32
. \er Rumr: +++-r.-::-.: .++++++++ !: +: .. : ...... , .............. ..... ; .++++++. +++++++++++. .- .v`r..;:i.- +.': ++++; ... 3
Word Whi z +.++++.+..+++.++++++++++++++..+.++.++++++.+++++++++++++++++++++.++. +. +.+.++++++++++.+++++++. ++++++.+++.+++.++ 34
Word Whi z grid +++.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++..+++++++++++++.+++..++++++..+.++++++++++++++.+++++++.35
XenoWord ........................................................................................................................... 36
Appendi x I: Distribution of l etter tiles in Scrabbl e ++++. ++.+++.+++++++++++.+.++.++.++++.++++.++...+.. 37
Appendi x II: Word category i deas +.++.+++++ . ++++.+++.+....++.+..++......+. 38
page 2 of 38
011 no, not Hangman
again : a manual of games for the Engl i sh language cl assroom
These are Engl i sh l anguage games whi ch you can play in your cl asses. They require
l ittle or no preparati on and mi nimal resources. Most of them are essenti al l y very
simi l ar - word-guessi ng games - but variations in the set-up or rul es make them
appear as diferent games.
They are chiefly old favourites which you wi l l have pl ayed before, but may still forget
at cruci al moments.
With l arger cl asses the games can be adapted for more than two teams.
Hangman is not i ncl uded.
Feedback i s very welcome. Pl ease send any questi ons, comments or corrections
page 3 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for the English language classroom
Backs to the Board
Guess words from cl ues provided by team-mates.
Divide the cl ass i nto 2 teams. Put 2 chairs i n front of the whiteboard, with their backs
to the board. A member of each team sits in the chairs. They are not al l owed to l ook
over thei r shoul ders at the board. Write a word on the board, whi ch the 2 pl ayers
have to guess. Thei r team shouts cl ues, which can be verbal or mi med. They are not
al l owed to say the word, gi ve any cl ues about the spel l i ng or speak any l anguage but
Engl i sha
The frst pl ayer to g uess correctly wins a point for hi s team. You then write up another
word and conti nue the game as l ong as you wih.
After about 3 words, change the pl ayers.
Exampl e
The word i s elephant. Students must not say ' Begi ns wi th E' or 'gajah', but they can
say ' Big ani mal with l ong nose' or mime an el ephant's trunk.
1. A sol i tary student si ts at the front, wi th the whol e cl ass shouting Iues. Thi s i s
general l y l ess fun than a team game.
2. I nstead of words, wri te up complete sentences. This is actually more
successful t han you might expect, even wi th low-level cl asses. You will hear
students cal l out shocking things l i ke, ' Past tense!'
An old EL T favourite and justl y so. The sol itar version is sometimes cal l ed Hot Seat.
page 4 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n: a manual of games for the English l anguage cl assroom
I nvent false defi nitions for words and choose the true defni tions.

Find some obscure words and their (true) defni ti ons. A good source is the
I nternati onal House of Logorrhea at W . phronti stery. i nfo/ihl start.html .

Provi de smal l sl ips of paper for students to write fal se defniti ons on.
The l eader of the round chooses a word. He reads it al oud and spel l s i t. Each pl ayer
then invents a fal se meani ng for thi s word that coul d fool the other pl ayers and writes
it on a sl i p of paper. The l eader shoul d copy the true defniti on on to his sl i p of paper,
so that he cannot be seen readi ng from the word card.
Each pl ayer hands hi s defi ni ti on to the l eader. The l eader reads al oud each defi ni ti on,
i ncl udi ng the correct one. Each pl ayer then votes on which defniti on he thi nks i s
correct. The l eader reveal s the true meaning. The scores are total l ed.
Another pl ayer becomes the new l eader, and pl ay conti nues.
Scoring: 1 poi nt for every vote your false definiti on receives. 2 poi nts if you choose
the true meani ng. The l eader get s 3 poi nts i f nobody chooses the true meani ng.
Exampl e
The l eader chooses bettong, a smal l Australian kangaroo. The 4 other pl ayers submit
efinitions as fol l ows:
Pl ayer A: South African sal ted meat

Pl ayer B: a Mal aysi an tree

Pl ayer C: a medieval measure of 660 yards

Player D: a fool
Players A and C vote for la fool', Pl ayer 8 votes for 660 yards and Pl ayer D votes for
the kangaroo. The scores are:

Pl ayer A: nothing
Pla.yer B; nothing

Pl ayer C: 1 poi nt (from Plaver B)

Pl ayer 0: 4 points (2 from Pl ayers A and C * 2 for the true meaning)

Leader: nothing
If there are few pl ayers, the l eader coul d submit a bl uff defi ni tion as wel l as the real
defi niti on.
From the board game of the same name. See the sampl e words on the next page.
page 5 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for the Engli sh language classroom
Balderdash sample words
a person who pl ays the flute
a magi c stone that makes a sol dier invisibl e
a smal l kangaroo
a variety of wi l d mushroom
antisepti c mouthwash
a six-stringed viol in
a chicken wit h fve toes
someone who l eaves town i n a hurry
to put on makeup
a ri ng worn on the fourth fi nger
l oose baggy trousers
a horse doctor
a Tasmani an mi neral contai ni ng copper and iron
a pear which ripens earl y
a bull et-proof screen
a hypocrite
someone who makes hats and wigs
to wal k along arm i n arm
bad breath
a Spanish coin worh twenty cents
exhausted, tired
to scrape the ground with a golf cl ub before hitting the bal l
to draw pictures on a sidewalk for money
tighb trousers worn by football players
a substance used in shoe making
the wool of a young sheep
a l ong cyl i ndri cal box which juggl ers balance with their feet
an American I ndi an hut
a precious jewel or gem
page 6 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again : a manual of games for the Engli sh language cl assroom
Battl eshi ps
Find an opponenfs words on a gri d.
Preparati on
Photocopy one worksheet l i ke the one below for each team.
Give each team a category (see Appendi x II ) . They have to come up with (say) 7
words that bel ong to that category. Each word is a battleshi p. They enter the words
on the gri d titled 'our shi ps,horizontally, veri cal l y or diagonal l y, one letter per
square. Letters shoul d not be in adjacent squares.
The teams then take turns in tryi ng to si nk each other' s ships. They do thi s by
announci ng a target square on the enemy s gri d (e. g. 85). If there is a letter in that
square, the other team must reveal it. If the square i s bl ank, the team says, 'Miss! '
At any poi nt a team may guess the compl ete word, but not more than one guess is
al l owed per turn.
The frst team to si nk all the other's shi ps (Le. fi nd out all the words) wi ns.
Team A' s category is fruit and Team B' s is jobs. Hi ts are in bold. Mi sses are shown
by an x.
Team A's words
T S T R A W 8 E R R Y
3 8 P 0
4 A E A R
5 N A P A
6 A X P N
8 A P L U M E E
i ;0 p N E
P P l
v <
o e 'f

Team B's words

S T R 0 N
0 C T 0

. .
Team A says '82' and Team 8 repl i es ' Mi ss" Team 8 tri es F6 and Team A says 'R'.
Team A tries D3 and gets O. Team B tri es G6 and mi sses. Team A tri es E3 and gets
C. Tea B tri es F7 and mi sses. Team A tri es C3, gets D and guesses ' DOCTOR'.
Vari ati ons
You can vary the size of the gri d, number of words, l ength of words, rul es about
positi oni ng, number of shots per turn, etc.
Tradi ti onal game. See the worksheet on the next page.
page 7 of 38
. : "

Oh no, not Hangman agai n: U manual of games for the Engl i sh l anguage classroom
Predict mi ssing words in sentences.
Preparati on
Prepare some sentences with mi ssing words.
Read out a sentence, wi th a bl ank instead of a word or phrase. All the pl ayers write
down the word or phrase they think is missing. They score 1 poi nt for every other
pi ayefwho chose the same answer as they.
You say, 'On Friday eveni ngs I go home and give my wife a big BLANK. ' Of 10
students, 4 write kiss, 3 present 2 bunch of fowers and 1 box of chocolates. They
score 3, 2, 1 and 0 respectivel y.
Variati ons
Set it up l ike the TV show, with 2 pl ayers guessing answers gi ven by a ' cel ebrity
panel of other students.
From the British game show of the same name. See al so Fami l y Fortunes.
page 9 of 38
Oh no, nol Hangman again: a manual of games for Ihe English language classroom
Make an unbroken line of cells by guessing words from clues.
Make a 5x5 grid of hexagons like the one below on an OHP transparency and project
the grid on to the whiteboard.
Put the class in 2 teams. One team is represented by Noughts (0), the other by
Crosses (X). The aim is to win cells and thereby make an unbroken line of cells from
one edge of the grid to the opposite edge (left to right or top to bottom):
The line does not have to be straight.
Each cell contains the initial letter of a word. One team chooses a cell. Give the clue
for th:>t word. The first person in either team to shout out the correct ar1swer wins the
cell. Mark it with a 0 or a X. That team then chooses the next cell.
Noughts choose B. The teacher says 'Synonym of courageous.' Students call out
various answers until a student in Noughts says brave and wins the cell. Noughts
then choose R and win it. They then choose L, but Crosses get tht! answer first.
Grosses choose S, but lose it to Nou9ht co,.",,tually Noughts hr.vl! B, R, S, T and N,
thereby linking lefi io right and winning me game.
I have made a few changes to the original rules, which you can find on the Internet.
Adapted from the game show of the same name. See the grid on the next page.
page 10 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n: a manual of games for the Engli sh l anguage classroom
Boggl e
Ai m
Make as many words as possi ble from random l etters.
Preparati on
Put the students i n smal l teams. Draw a 4x4 square on the board and i nsert random
letters. (I ncl ude enough vowels. ) Give the students about 5 mi nutes to make as many
rds as possi bl e. The letters of a word must be adjacent. You cannot use a l etter
more than once in the same word.
Score onl y those words that no other team has got. For words of 3 l etters - 1 point; 4
l etters 3 points; 5 or more l etters 10 points.
Exampl e
From thi s square you can make the words FAN, COPS, ANTICS, SPAN and many
You are not allowed to 11ake FAT or DI SC (not al l letters adjacent) or KICK (using K
twi ce) .
N U P 0
0 I T U
Variati ons
You can vary the number of square>'the score, ti mi ng, etc.

Adapted from the board game of the same name.

page 12 of38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n : a manual of games for the English language'classroom
Chall enge
Ai m
Add 1 letter to a word i n turn wi thout completing the word.
Preparati on
Ask a student to thi nk of (but not utter) a word and tel l you the frst letter. Write the
Itter on the board. Ask the next student to think of a word begi nning with that letter
and tell you the second letter. And so on. The aim of the game is to never fni sh the
word, but always try to make it l onger.
A student may get stuck because:
he thinks the word is al ready compl ete and cannot be made any longer
he does not know any word beginning with those letters
he suspects the intended word is misspel l ed.
If stuck, he i s not al l owed to pass. Instead, he has a choice of adding another l etter
(i . e. bl ufng) or chal l enging the previ ous player.
If he challenges the previous pl ayer, that pl ayer must now reveal the word he was
thinki ng of. If that word does not exist or is mi sspelled or i s no l onger than the word
already on the board, this is a successful chal l enge.
If a pl ayer is successfully challenged or unsuccessfully challenges another player,
they are out of the game. Galle continues until only 1 player is left alive (the winner) .
Exampl e
First student thinks of fish and says F. You write r on the board. Second student
thinks of funny and says U. Board now says FU. And so on.
Letters on board Response to challenge Successful challenge?
FURIUS furi usly Yes (word is mi sspell ed)
FURIf.US furi ousl y No (word i s correct)

j:! 1'0c ;
fu ri oU8ity [Ye (word does not;i?tr: ] + = - . -
FURIOUS 'Don't know' Yes (il ayer cannot make word l onger)
A pl ayer leses a li fe i nstead of being el i mi nated straightaway.
Adapted sl i ghtl y from I, chall enge' in More Grammar Games by Mario Rinvolucri and
Paul Davis, who credit it to Issam AI Khayyat.
page 13 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for the English language classroom
Mi me a titl e for team-mates to guess.
Provi de sl i ps of paper for pl ayers to write ti tl es on.
Put the cl ass in 2 teams. They think of titles of books, fil ms, TV programmes or songs
and write each titl e (and the genre) on a sl i p of paper. A pl ayer from Team A i s given
itle by Team B. He acts it out (without speaking) and his teammates guess it
If they can do so within a reasonabl e time, Team A gets a paint and a player from
Team B then acts out one of Team A's titles.
Special signals

Book: Pretend to open a book.

Film: Pretend to turn the handle of an antiquated fl m camera.

TV programme: Draw a TV screen in the air.

Song: Pretend to sing.

Number of words in the title: Hol d up fingers.

Which word you're working on: Hol d up fngers again.
Number of syllables in the word: Lay fi ngers on arm.
Which syl lable you're worki ng on: Lay fingers on arm again.
Length of word: Make a l ittl e or 'big' sign as if describing a fsh.

The entire concept: Sweep arms through the air.

Sounds like: Cup hand behind ear.

Longer version of . Pretend to stretch a piece of el astic.

Shorter version of: Do a karate chop.

Plural: Li nk l ittle fi ngers.

Past tense: Wave hand over shoul der toward back.

The title i s Brokeback Mountai n (a flm). The pl ayer pretends to turn a fil m camera,
then hol ds 2 fngers in the air. He holds up 2*fngers agai n, then l ays 2 fngers on his
and dra\vc mort?i oin the air.. He net.holds up 1 fingcr any.?gr. pn ,
q . i___g
hi s arm, then 2 fingers 0( his arm agai n (1 &tword, 2 syl l ables, 2n
syl l able). He
i ndi cates hi s own back. Fi nal l y, he l ays 1 fnger on his arm, mi mes breaki ng
something and waves hi s hand over his shoul der.
Besi des the genres menti oned above, you can mi me the titles of pl ays, the names of
people, pl aces and thi ngs, and sayi ngs. Other speci al si gnals are possi bl e.
A taditi onal game whi ch has been made into a number of televi si on game shows.
page 14 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for the Engli sh language classroom
Col l ocati ons Ladder
To guess words that make coll ocati ons.
Make a list of sui table coll ocati ons, as i n the exampl e bel ow.
From a list of collocati ons, put the top and bottom words in a ladder on the board
leavi ng empty rungs for the blanks between. Each word must have links with the
words next to i t. Collocati ons can be read up or down, so these are both acceptable:
whale blue
Put the class in 2 teams. Each turn ask them to choose, 'Top or bottom?' Add 1 letter
to the uppermost or lowermost uncompleted word.
Each team guesses the word or passes. If they get it wrong or pass, the other team
chooses top or bottom. They get a letter and guess or pass. If a team guesses
correctlyg they get 1 poi nt and the next turn.
If onl y 1 letter is left and a team has failed to guess the word (e. g. genera), just add
the remaining letter. Neither team gets the point.
Your list is: whale - blue " fm - director- genera/ - major- key " ring.
whale whale whale whale
ri ng
b bl blue
ri ng
-1 -
. . . .
. .. . - - ..
Team A choos' as top and you add B, but they fai l to guess the word, so play passe' s
to tam B. Team B also chooses top, so you add L. They correctly guess blue and
choose bottom. They fail t o guess from the l eter K. Team A then chooses bottom
and you add E.
You could pl ay with weaker word associati ons, instead of strict coll ocati ons.
Adapted from the I ndonesi an game show, Kata Berkait (= Hooked Word) .
page 1 5 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for the English language cl assroom
Countdown Letters
Ai m
Make the longest word from random letters.
Preparati on
You need l etter ti l es or cards as i n Scrabbl e, with t he di stri buti on refl ecti ng thei r
frequency in Engl i sh. (See Appendi x I . ) Sort them i nto 2 piles: vowel s and
Divide the class into 2 teams. Team A picks 9 letters at random. They can specify
only whether the letter is a vowel or a consonant.
Both teams then have a limited time (e.g. 1 minute) to find the longest word they can
from those letters. Words that start with capital letters and abbreviations are not
The team with the longer word scores 1 point for each letter in their word. I f there is a
tie, both teams score.
Team B then pi cks 9 letters. And so on.
Exampl e
Team A says 'Vowel' and gets an A. They then choose a consonant and get an R.
They choose another consonant and get an F, then a vowel and get another A. In the
end they haveA, R, F, A, T, M, 0, L, C.
Team A mai<es the word fractal (7 letters) , while Team B comes up with fonnat (6
letters). Team A gets 7 points, while Team B scores O.
Team B then pi cks the letters G, 0, K, W, P, 8, H, I , U. Team A gets pious (5 letters)
and Team 8 whisk (also 5 letters) . Both teams get 5 points.
Accordi ng to the TV rul es, the 9 l etters must contai n at l east 3 vowel s and 4
Teams CQuid always bLOI 1 poi nt per letter, e'Jen if another team has made a
ongei wot'u ..
Adapted from the letters round of the Bri ti sh televi sion quiz programme, Countdown,
whi ch was based on the French programme Des chifres et des lettres.
page 1 6 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n: a manual of games for the English language classroom
Doubl ets
Ai m
Turn a word i nto another word by changi ng 1 letter each turn.
Preparati on
It is advi sabl e to compl ete the puZzl es yourself first, so that you don't gi ve the
students i mpossi bl e tasks. (A program cal l ed WordLaddeR at www. i hsan. bi z can do
this for you. )
Pl ay
Players score points according to the number of steps taken to turn 1 word into
another, 1 l etter each turn. Write both the original and final words on the board.
Letters cannot be moved, merely substituted. The inventor , Lewis Carroll, wrote that_
'the links should be English words, such as might be used in good society. '
t the end of the game the player with the lowest score wi ns.
Exampl e
Write up HEAD and TAI L.
Team A does it in 5 steps (HEAD - HEAL - TEAL - TELL - TALL - TAI LL Team B in
6 steps (HEAD - HEIL - SEAL - SELL - TELL TALL - TAIL), so they sore 5 and
6 points respectivel y.
Variati ons
A letter may also be added, removed or moved each turn (e.g. PEAS - PEAKS
I nvented by Lewis Carrol l and featured in the magazi ne Vanity Fai r i n 1879. Al so
known as Word Chai ns, Word Ladder, Word Golf, Stepwords, Ladderords,
Laddergrams, Transiti ons, Transformati ons, etc.
page 17 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again : a manual of games for the Engli sh language classroom
Fami l y Forunes
Predict popul ar answers to questions
Preparati on
Make a list of questi ons. (See i deas on next page. )
Read out a questi on. Al l the pl ayers write down the answer they thi nk most of the
other pl ayers wi l l give. They score 1 poi nt for every other player who chose the same
answer as they.
The teacher says, 'Name something you'd associate with the Queen of England.'
Of 10 students, 4 write palace, 3 crown, 2 throne and 1 corgi. They score 3, 2, 1 and
o respectivel y.
Variati ons
In the TV show contestants predi ct answers given by '100 peopl e surveyed'
beforehand, so you coul d provide your own answers (from a survey of teachers or
another cl ass?) and then pl ay as a team game.
From the Briti sh game show of the same name, which is based on the American
show Family Feud. See al so Bl ankety-Blank.
page 18 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again : a manual of games for the Engl i sh language classroom
Family Fortunes question ideas
A boy's name beginning with J
A breed of dog
A domestic animal
A famous Royal
A food peopl e give as a g itt
A food that can be brown or whi te
A food that can be easily eaten wi thout
A forei gn country that you would want to visit
A game pl ayed in bed
A game played on a table besides cards
A kind of ache
A month that's also a person's name
A non-living object with legs
A number you have to memorise
A part of the body beginning with the letter N
A part of the body with four l etters
A reason you might stay inside on a beautiful
A Scandinavian country
A sign of the zodiac
A si nger who is known by one name
A sport in whi ch two people compete against
each other
A TV soap
A type of foreign money
A way of cooking fish
A word or phrase you hear in a tennis game
An ancient city
An animal begi nning with the letter B
An animal whose eggs you'd never eat for
An ani mal wi th three letters in i ts name
An animal you might see at a zoo
An annual spori ng event
An occupation that begi ns wi th the 10ttrJ
An occupation whose members must get
tl:cd of .mifirr
An ugl y colour
A word beginni ng with 'snow'
Besi des U house or a car, the most
expensive i tem you own
One of the seven dwars
Some famous brothers
Somethi ng a car can have to of
Something a cat does
Something a denti st woul d say
Somethi ng a teenage boy can do for hours
Something associated with Superman
Somethi ng associated with pigs
Something associated with Robi nson Crusoe
Something bad you wouldn't think about
Something in the garden that's green
Something London is famous for
Something made of wool
Something most people have only one of
Something people eat with steak
Something people might be al lergic to
Somethi|g red
Something slippery
Something someone does that annoys
everyone in the room
Something that comes in pairs
Something that flies that doesn't have an
Something that makes you scream
Something that uses microchips
Something that your dog does
Something with a hole in it
Something with a red light on it
Somethi ng you associate with the sea
Something you do before going to bed
Something you do in the bathroom
Something you do in the event of a power
Something you do standing on a chair
Something you hc:e more than two in your
Something you have with coffee
Somethi ng you learn how to do from a how
to book
Something you mi ght acci dentally leave on
all ni ght
Somethi ng you open other than a door
Something you put i n tea
Something you put on wal l s
Somethi ng you put out for the bid
omething you
` - - ' ,
Something you throw away dail y
Something you wash once a week
Somethi ng you wear on the beach
Something you wear to of at the same time
Something }'OU would n't try even once
Something you wouldn't want the pol i ce to
find in the boottrunk of your car
Something you'd yel l at if it stopped working
The bad habi t you'd most l i ke to get rid of
The heaviest i tem i n your house
page 19 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman ag
in : a manual of games for the English language classroom
Fi ve Thi ngs
Guess items i n categori es.
Preparati on
Prepare 2 l i sts of categori es. (See Appendi x I I . )
Put the class in 2 teams. Give each team a (diferent) l i st of categories. The students
must write 5 i tems - t hi ngs/people/animal s/pl aces - in each category.
When both teams are ready, Team A reads out its category. Team 8 then has 1
mi nute to guess as many of the items as possi ble. For each correct guess Team B
gets 1 point. For each i tem that was not guessed, Team A gets 1 point. (So 5 poi nts
are shared between the 2 teams. )
I t is then Team A's turn to guess items from one of Team 8's categories.
Team A's category i s things that are sticky. The 5 things they choose are honey,
gl ue, asphal t, fl ypaper and napal m.
Team A secretary: Thi ngs that are sticky.
A Team B student: Honey!
Team A secretary: Yes.
Team B students: Syrup! (No!) Glue! (Yes.) Sellotape! (No!) Blu-Tak! (No!) . , etc.

If a team guesses al l 5 items, they get a bonus of 2 poi nts.

The ti mekeeper can be ei ther the teacher or a member of the team whose
i tems are bei ng guessed.
An e
abl i shed Engl i sh l anguage teachi ng game with vari ous names, e,ct. Brai nstorm
;n the Re'Nard LUU book series.
"''': `' ` "` " _
page 20 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for the Engli sh language classroom
Guess a secret word.
Preparati on
You can pl ay it with any number of students. Choose a secret word of 4 l etters.
Students try to guess the word. Unlike i n Hangman. they must suggest complete
wods not i ndi vi dual l eUers.
Write the words and 2 columns of numbers on the board. The columns indicate:
how many lettrs the students have got right
how many letters are both right and in the correct position.
Your word i s FI SH. The students' guesses are as follows:
score guess explanation of score
0 0 LOVE
No l etters right
0 1 STAR
S i s Iight but i n the wrong place
0 0 MARK
No letters right
1 1 TINY
I is right and i n the right place
1 2 SI NG
S and I are ri ght; S is in the wrong pl ace, I i n the ri ght pl ace
2 2 KI SS
S and I are ri ght and in the right pl ace
3 3 DI SH
I , S and H are right and i n he right pl ace
-.4-' 4 . FlSH,,,
AU 4.letters are right

.tre ri ght pl ace
I n practice the cl ass usual l y needs more guesses.
. .
Some versions omi t the l ef-hand col umn, which shows how many letters are both
rght and in the correct positi on.
ver the years thi s game has appeared in various gui ses, such as Bul l s & Cows,
Jotto, My Word and Mastermi nd.
page 21 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for tile English l anguage classroom
Panic Word
Ai m
Provide defniti ons and cl ues for as many words as possi bl e from a list.
Preparati on
Make lists of words. Put at l east 10 words i n a l ist. Write each list on a piece of paper.
Put the students in 2 teams. Gi ve a list to a student from Team A. They have 2
minutes to get their team-mates to guess as many words as possi ble. Then gi ve
another list to Team B.
A student has thi s l i st:

poi nted
tal ked
gradual ly
pl ate
menti on
col umns
They choose words i n random order and provi de defni tions or cl ues such as
'Synonym of biggest' and 'You eat food off it' .
Variati ons
Pl ayers from ei ther team can guess the words.
This game has v
uS i ncarnati ons and names .
- - -
page 22 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n: a manual of games for the English language classroom
Guess words from pictures drawn by players.
Provide sli ps of paper for players to write words on.
Put the class i nto 2 teams. Each team thinks of words for the other team to guess
and writes each word on a slip of paper.
When both teams are ready, a player from Team A is given a word by Team B. He
has to draw it on the whiteboard (without speaking or writing) and his team-mates
guess it.
If they can do so within a reasonable time, Team A gets a point and a player from
Team B then has to draw one of Team A's words. And so on.
The word i s nightmare, so the pl ayer draws a person l ying on a bed, with a thought
bubbl e that contains a ghost coming from his head.
Variati ons

The opposing team can make unhelpful suggestions or comments about the

Players from both teams draw at the same tire.

From the board game of the same name
page 23 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n: a manual of games for the English language classroom
Qui ck Scrabbl e
Make words crossword-fashi on.
Preparati on
e a 9x9 gri d li ke t he one bel ow on an OHP transparency and project the grid on
to the whiteboard.
Play l i ke Scrabbl e, except that:

Each player or team has any 7 letters they like. ( No need to make letter tiles. )

Score onl y 1 point per letter.

The numbers 2 and 3 represent double and triple word scores.

If you don't already know how to play Scrbble, you can find detailed rules and
examples on the Internet
R 0 I
DROI D gets 5x2=10
poi nts. EDGE gets
4x3=12 points.
3T E A C
L 0
35 P
TEACH gets 3x2x5=30
poi nts. HOPE gets only 4
poi nts.
Yu Cl of U vary t. le numberof sqLJres, scori ng, et, => you p,ij?_$o ...
Adapted from the board game Scrabble by somebody (sorry, can't recal l whom) and
sl i ghtly modifed agai n. See the gri d on the next page.
page 24 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n: a manLial of games for the English language classroom
. `.
Quick Scrabble grid
~' ~
page 25 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again : a manual of games for the English language classroom
Thi nk of words in a category that begi n with a certai n letter.
Preparati on
Prepare a l i st of categori es. (See Appendi x I I for i deas. ) Ei ther make a pri nted l i st
wi th the categories in col umns that students can fll in, or j ust write the categori es on
the board.
Students can work alone or in pairs or small groups. Reveal the categories and the
initial letter and start timing. Allow about 3 minutes.
Students try to thi nk of one answer for each category.
Players read thei r answers aloud. They score points only if no other player has the
same answers.
After one round, change the i niti al letter.
The frst i ni ti al letter i s T.
categor Student A Student B Student C Student 0
animals tiger tiger turtle teacher
celebrities Tiger Woods Tiger Woods Tina Turner Mr T
jobs teacher teacher tailor thief
nationalities Turkey Tokyo Turkish Texan
buildings temple theatre toi let
thi ngs you can read textbook thesaurus toi!Ut paper
vehicles train trai n tram tri cycle
weather typhoon tempestuous
score 2 0 8 6Y2
Students A and 8 have the same answer for the first category and therefore score
nothi ng. Student C gets a poi nt, whil3' Student D gets a smack round the mouth.
l _ _ -

The scores for that round are as snown. (Student D gets onl y 'Y mark for 'toilet
paper' . )

All ow more than one answer per category.

Gi ve poi nts for all correct answers, e.g. 3 poi nts for a uni que answer and 1

i nt fo


ni que one.
Derived from the board game of the same name.
page 26 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again: a manual of games for the English language classroom
Smart Mouth
Make words from i ni ti al and fnal letters,
Preparati on
You need letter cards or ti l es, as i n Scrabble.
Put the l etter ti l es face down. Pl ayers turn them up i n pai rs. The frst student to say a
word begi nni ng with one of the l etters and endi ng with the other wi ns the til es.
At tl1e end the player with the most tiles wins.
The letters Band C are turned up and won by a player who shouts 'Club'. Then the
letters L and K are won by ' Luck' . And so on.
The first letter turned up has to be the first letter in the word. B and C coul d be won
by 'Basi c' but not 'Club'.
From the board game of the same name.
page 27 of 38
011 no, not Hangman agai n :.
a manual of games for the Engl i sh l anguage cl assroom
Guess words from spoken clues that must excl ude forbi dden words.
Preparati on
Prepare cards with keywords and taboo words like the example below, or - if there i s
time in class - get t he students t o do this.
Put the class i n 2 teams. Start the cl ock. Show a pl ayer from Team A a card. Once
he'has memorised the keyword and taboo words, give the card to Team B . The
player gives spoken clues only without gestures or spellings.
If he says one of the taboo words, members of Team B need to point it out. In that
case Team A scores nothing for that word and has to try another word.
Once Team A has correctly guessed the word, show the player another card. The
team tries to guess as many words as possible in the allotted time (e. g. 3 minutes).
When time runs out, a pl ayer from Team B comes forward.
Some examples of Taboo cards:
exercise : .:, dictionar; . headache,
gym book head true
aerobics word pain lie
workout meaning aspirin trust
fit definition hurt good
bod l ook mi raine mon
The Team A pl ayer starts with dictionar. He says, 'Somethi ng we use if we don't
know some vocabul ary i n Engl ish' and the team guesses correctly. For headache he
says, 'The part my body above my neck - ow! owl' For honest he says, 'If someone
is B LNK we can trust them - ' and Team 8 yell s that he has used the taboo word
Variations .
= ~ +
The opposing team can make unhel pful suggestions at the same time.
From the board game of the same name. Appears in an EL T book as Don' t Say I t!
page 29 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n : a manual of games f
r the Engli sh l anguage classroom
Twenty Questi ons
Guess an object by aski ng yes/no quetionsn
Preparati on
Pl ay
Put the cl ass i n 2 teams. Each team thi nks of some objects for the other team to
Team A chooses an object. Team 8 asks a maxi mum of 20 questions until they
guess it, i n whi ch case they score a point . If they can't guess correctly in 20
questions, they score nothing. Team A then has to guess Team B' s object, and so
The questi ons should all be answered with a simple ' Yes' or ' No' (or ' Maybe' ) .
Team A chooses their Engl i sh teacher as the i tem to be guessed.
Team 8: Can you eat it? (1 questi on)
Team A: Maybe.
Team 8: Is it alive? (2)
TUam A: Yes.
Team 8: I s it smaller than a dog? (3)
Team A: No.
Team 8: I s it intelli gent? (4)
Team A: Maybe.
Team B: I s it a monkey? (5)
Team A: No.
Team 8: I s it a human? (6)
Team A: Yes.
Team B: Is it famous? (7)
Team A: No. [etr.]
Vrjati ons
. =

The cl ass of object i s specifed beforehand, e. g. a memoer of the animal O

pl ant ki ngdom, or a thi ng. (Thi s version is called Animal , Vegetabl e or
Mi neral .)

Guess the celebrity or the occupati on.

Traditional parl our game with various T and radi o i ncarnations, incl uding What' s My
page 30 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n : a manual of games for the Engl i sh language classroom
Wheel of Forune
Ai m
Guess the word from letters that are added gradual ly.
None. There i s, unfortunatel y, no wheel in thi s version.
Pl ay
As i n Hangman, thi nk of U word (or phrase) and write a bl ank for each letter on the
board. Divide the cl ass into 2 teams.
Consonants can be guessed, but vowel s have to be bought, using points earned by
correctly guessed consonants. The l etter Y is treated as a consonant.
Team A guesses a consonant. If the consonant is not found in the word, play passes
to Team B. If the consonant is in the word, Team A gets 1 point for every occurrence
of the letter. Team A can then buy 1 vowel for every point they have.
I f the vowel i s not i n the word, pl ay passes to Team 8. (Team A keeps any remai ning
points for their next turn. ) If the vowel is i n the word, Team A can buy another vowel
( if they have any points left) or guess another consonant. Vowels do not earn points.
The first team to guess the whol e word wins.
You choose the word encyclopedia and write on the board.
Team A wrongly guesses T and pl ay passes to Team B. whi ch guesses N. They get
1 point and buy E. The board now reads:
Team 8 then wrongly guesses S and play passes back to Team A. Team A guesses
C and gets 2 poi nts. They buy A, then I. The board now reads:
Team A correctly guesses the word nd wins that game.

The word can bel ong to (ocegor (

ee Appendi x I I for ideas) . which i s
revealed before players star guessi ng.

The letter Y could be treated as a vowel in hymn, happy, etc.

Adapted from the game show of the same name.
page 31 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n : a manual of games for the English l anguage cl assroom
Word Noughts & Crosses
Ai m
To make 3-l etter words i n a 3x3 gri d.
Draw a 3x3 gri d on the board. Put the cl ass in 2 teams. The teams take turns j'n
addi ng a l eter to the gri d. The first team to make a 3-l etter word wi ns.
Words can read from l ef to right, top to bottom or (diagonally) top-l eft to bottom-right .
Exampl e
Team A beats team B.
Variati ons
The danger is that students start pl aying ultra-defensivel y, so that every game ends
with no words bei ng formed. An
al ternative i s to use bi gger gri d (e. g. 1 Ox1 0) with,
___ __ x* ' .. . . .. . , ; . . . ' say; 'letter "\ords. - : : `
- _ . t l .




You could al so al l ow words to read upwards, back-to-front, etc.
An ol d game, probabl y. whi ch I found somewhere on the I nternet.
page 32 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again : a manual of games for the English l anguage classroom
Word Rummy
Ai m
Di spose of al l the l etter cards i n your hand by making words.
Preparati on
Provi de a set of letter cards (or ti l es) for each group of 2-6 pl ayers. (See Appendi x I . )
You coul d make your own or write the l etters on ordi nary pl ayi ng cards.
3 or 4 pl ayers/teams are best, but 2-6 can pl ay. Deal each pl ayer 7 cards. Pl ace the
next card face up to start the discard pile and the remaining cards face down to form
the stock.
The object of the game is to dispose of all the cards in your hand by:

mel di ng: making a word from your cards and placing it face up in front of you.
The word must have at least 3 letters.
layi ng off: addi ng cards from your hand to a meld already on the table to
make a l onger word. The new letters may be used anywhere in the word.
di scardi ng: throwi ng away 1 card to the discard pile at the end of each turn.
Each turn draw one card from the stock or the discard pile. End the turn by
di scarding. If the stock pi l e runs out, turn over the discard pile to form a new stock.
A player wins by disposing of all of his cards. Play stops immediately. Other players
may not put down any more cards, even if they have word combinations in their
hands. They have to pay the winner points for the cards remai ning in their hands, as
fol l ows: 5 points per vowel, 1 point per consonant, 25 points per wild card.
Deal agai n. At the end of the game, the pl ayer with the most poi nts wins.
Wi l d cards/jokers/bl ank ti l es can represent any letter. When pl ayi ng a wi ld card, the
pl ayer must state whi ch letter it represents. Any pl ayer may pi ck up a wild card by
putti ng that letter i n its pl ace.
Exampl e
PI yer A mel ds the cards H, A and T to make HAT. Pl ayer B mel ds 8, : wi l d card, N

nd says thi s
i s SONG.
He' l ays off C on HAT, maki ng CHAT. Prayer A puts an

o in SONG and takes Pl ayer B' s wi ld card.
Variati ons

Omi t cards for J, Q, X and Z, as these l etters occur i nfrequently in Engl i sh.

You may not l ay off any cards on other players' mel ds unti l you have l ai d down
at l east one meld of your own.

As i n regul ar Rummy, many other vari ati ons are possi bl e.

Based on the Rummy fami l y of card games.
page 33 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again : a manual of games for the Engli sh language classroom
Word Whiz
Ai m
Move al ong a board of l etter squares by thi nki ng of words in categori es that begi n
with the l etter you are on.
Preparati on
Make a gri d l i ke the one below on an OHP transparency and project the grid on to the
, whiteboard.
Write categori es (see Appendi x I I ) on sl i ps of paper.
Pl ay
Put the cl ass in teams. (The grid bel ow is for up to 5 teams. ) The teams al l start on
the uppennost l etter in the grid. To move off a l etter a team must provide a word
which begins with that l etter and bel ongs to a random category. I f the team cannot
think of a word i n a reasonabl e time, they are stuck on that l etter square until their
next turn, when they are given another random category.
Draw the categori es randoml y from your pi l e of slips of paper. When they are
fni shed, start the pi l e agai n.
Mark a team' s l atest posi ti on on the board with a X.
Exampl e
Turn 1 : Al l 3 teams are on the l etter T. Team 1 starts. The category they get i s
Vehicl es. They say, ' Train' and move to the next l etter, O. Team 2 then gets the
category Musical I nstruments and says, 'Trombone' , so they move to O. Teanl 3 gets
the category Tool s and can't think of anything, so they stick on T.
Turn 2: Team 1 then gets the category Sea Life and says Octopus' g so they move to
the letter A. Team 2 gets Mammal s, can't thi nk of anythi ng and stiLk on O. Team 3
gets Citi es, says 'Tokyo' and moves to O.
Variati ons
You coul d make a more attractive boa
d whi ch the students move pi eces al ong.
To make i t harder: each team must provi de diferent answers for the same category
-' each' turn. Star.with a difereni, team each tUne
. ` '`` ' ' ' `

From the board game of the same name. See the g rid on the next page.
page 34 of 38
. . . . . '
*- . .
. _ - - + . + "

Oh no, not Hangman agai n : a manual of games for the Engl i sh l anguage classroom
Word Whiz grid
Fi rst
l etter
1 2 3 4 5
- . : - .
6 : . ; . :

t' q (
-- --. -
page 35 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n : a manual of games for the Engl i sh l anguage classroom
Ai m
To guess words ( members of a l exi cal set) as more l etters are added to t he word.
Preparati on
Make a l i st of 8 rel ated words - e. g. col ours, ani mal s, food, cl othes, footbal l , jobs.
Pl ay
Put the students i n 2 teams. Write the numbers 1 to 8 on the board. Tel l the students
what the words have i n common, e. g . They are all j obs. '
Team A chooses a number. Write the first letter of that word on the board. Team A
guesses the word or passes. If they get it wrong or pass, Team B can choose the
same or a di fferent number. They get a letter and guess or pass. I f a team guesses
correctly, they get 1 point and the next turn.
If only 1 letter i s lef and a team has fail ed to guess the word (e. g. astra/age) . just add
the remaini ng letter. Neither team gets
the point.
Exampl e
These are your words:
1 acrobat 5 astrologer
2 cl own 6 rat-catcher
3 masseur 7 thief
4 proctologist 8 lap dancer
Team A chooses number 1 . Write the letter a on the board . Team A incorrectly
guesses architect. Pl ay passes to Team B, whi ch also chooses number 1 . You add a
second letter: ac. Team 8 i ncorrectly guesses actor . Team A agai n chooses 1: acr.
Team A correctly guesses acrobat . They get another turn and choose number 6.
They guess i ncorrectl y. Team 8 chooses number 2. The board now l ooks l i ke thi s:
1 acrobat
2 _
Variati ons
Each team has 1 5. They buy l etters for 1. If they guess the word, they receive 1
for every l etter not al ready written on the board. The team wi th the most money wi ns.
Example: F i s on the board. Team A buys a l etter for 1: FL. The team then buys
another letter: FLO. The team correctly guesses FLOWER and gai ns 3 (for WER) .
A game of my own i nventi on.
page 36 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman again : a manual of games for the English language classroom
Appendi x I: Di stri buti on of l etter ti l es i n Scrabbl e
A 4 H 1 0 4 V 1
B 1 I 4 P 1 W 1
C 1 J 1 Q 1 X 1
0 2 K 1 R 3 Y 1
E 6 L 2 S 2 Z 1
F 1 M 1 T 3 blank 2
G 1 N 3 U 2 total 52
page 37 of 38
Oh no, not Hangman agai n : a manual of games for the English language classroom
Appendi x I I : Word category i deas
ani mals fil m I book I musical personality thi ngs you collect
genres ' titles
places to eat thi ngs you do on
bad habits
fi l m peopl e
pl ants
your own I with other
peopl e
baseball relatives
thi ngs you l i sten to '
footbal l
road ' street watch
big ' smal l
fruit ' vegetables
school ' school thi ngs you replace
furni ture subjects
thi ngs you would
gai ts sea life take to a desert
garden shapes
i sl and
bui l dings
geography shops
ti me
handbag sounds
cel ebrities
hobbies spors / games
tourist attractions
hotel sportsmen/women
house states of the USA
uni ts
col l ectibles
-i sms thi ngs i n a kitchen I
bathroom / bedroom vehi cl es
col ours / si tti ng room
l anguages
ways to get rich
comi c book thi ngs in Water I on
characters l i qui ds trees I on a wal l
communi cati on luck thi ngs made of wood
computers mammal s ' bi rds I
I leather , metal ' weddings
fish ' repti l es '
pl astic
words begi nni ng and
i nverebrates thi ngs that are bl ack endi ng with the
metals and stones
' white ' green I etc same letter
thi ngs that are words contai ning
pl ugged in doubl e letters
musical i nstruments
things that are words rhyming :Nith
names, first
square ' round I certai n sounds
nati onalities
painted I cyl i ndi ica!
words-with 1 J 2 I I
di seases
nice ' nasty ' scary
thi ngs that are wet ' etc syl l abl es
domestic routines thi ngs
dry , cold ' hot '
words with particular
dri nk office
thi ngs that fly ' grow
words with the stress
dwel l i ngs -ol ogies
' move fast
on the 1 st ' 2nd I etc
electrical ' electronic outer space
thi ngs to put on food syl l abl e
appliances ' gadgets
thi ngs with wheels
parts of speech:
thi ngs you can do
excuses nouns ' adjectives I
with your mouth '
verbs I adverbs
feet ' hands
festival s
thi ngs you can read
page 38 of 38

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