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

Photographic Memory

Vocabulary Objective: to review and remember vocabulary.
Game Objective: to recall items, words, or pictures seen.
Group Size: 4 to 24
Prep Time: > 10 minutes
Playing Time: 5-20 minutes
Interest Level: ages 3 to adult
Ability Level: beginning to intermediate

Preparation: Place a variety of small items or flashcards (word or picture) face down on a table. Cover these with a cloth or towel until playing begins.

Game: Uncover the objects and allow the players a set amount of time (1-3 minutes, depending on students' ages) to memorize them. Players may not make any notes about the contents. At the end of the time, objects are removed or recovered. If players can write, they are asked to list as many of the items as they can remember. The student with the most detailed list wins. If students cannot write, they are divided into two teams.  Teams form two separate lines. The student in the front of the first line tries to recall an item he or she saw. For recall, one point is awarded. If the student can also use the item in a sentence, a second point is awarded. The student then goes to the back of the line. The student at the front of the second line repeats the process. If a student cannot remember an item, he or she goes to the back of the line and no points are awarded.

Variation: If you are teaching phonemic awareness, you might have the student name the letter of the initial consonant sound instead of using the word in a sentence.

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