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The EFL Playhouse: A Resource for ESL/EFL Teachers of Young Learners

Against the Clock

Skills: verbal description; vocabulary review
Group Size: 2-20
Time: 5-15 minutes
Materials Needed: Vocabulary word or picture cards
Interest Level: 5-young adult
Ability Level: upper beginning to advanced

Keep a box of vocabulary cards in the classroom. (I usually write out each week's vocabulary words on index cards at the beginning of a week, then add these to the box as I teach them.) As an end of the week review or a filler for those last five minutes of class, I select a student, hand him or her the box and set a time limit of thirty to sixty seconds. This student draws a card from the box, then proceeds to describe the object, action, emotion, etc. written thereon to the class. As soon as the class guesses the word, the student proceeds to the next card, and so forth. One point is given for each word guessed by the class. If a student does not know the meaning of a vocabulary word he or she draws, he or she may skip it; however, one point is deducted for each skipped card. This activity works well as either a team or an individual exercise. For added practice, you may randomly ask students to use reviewed words correctly in sentences at the end of each timed turn.

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