By Kevin Fabris

August 14, 2015

10 - 20 Minutes, Adult, Advanced, Answer, Big Class, Easy ESL Games,, EFL, ESL, Fun, Game, Games, High School, No Materials Required, Small Class, Some Materials Required, Teams, Word Game

If you’ve been teaching ESL / EFL for any substantial period of time you’ve already forgotten more ESL games then you currently know.  It’s just how it goes.  Games that were at one time your go-to-games slowly fall out of use and then eventually are forgotten.  ESL game #056 – Scattergories was one of those games for me.
I recently came across a blog post written by Gavin on Premier ESL that reminded me what a great game
Scattergories can be in almost any ESL class.
  • Best of all the only materials you’ll need are a white board and a timer. If you want to get a little more advanced you can download the App from the App store.  It picks the letters and gives you example topics and has a built in timer.  It only cost $0.99 Canadian when I purchased it last week.
  • You can play with 2 – 20 people.  Although 4 – 10 works best.
  • The ESL game can be catered to almost any level of ability.
  • A game should take between 10 – 20 minutes but can easily go longer if your having fun or have a particularly large class.

How to:

  1.  Divide your class into teams.  I prefer pairs but if you have a larger class you might want to make groups of 3 or 4 ESL students.
  2. Pick 5 categories and fill them into the spaces in the top row of the table.
  3. Ask the groups to draw a similar table on a piece of paper.  They will only need one table per group.
  4. Inform your ESL students that they will have 1 minute (or less depending on ability) to select a word for each of the 5 category columns in the table. Each word must begin with the randomly selected letter you are about to choose.
  5. Pick a letter and start the timer.
  6. When the timer sounds everyone has to put down their pencils.
  7. Each group must read their answers out loud.
  8. Answers can be challenged by other groups if they don’t feel like the response is appropriate.  It’s important to let the students challenge these points.  After the class has made a decision on a specific word and points have been awarded you can tell explain the real answer.  This opens up avenues for discussion and rewards persuasive speakers.
  9. Only original answers are awarded points.  Any answer that is used by multiple groups is unacceptable.
  10. Answers that are deemed appropriate and only used by one group should be circled and tallied as points.
  11. After 3 rounds of Scatergories, tally the total points.
  12. If you wish to continue playing pick 5 new categories and repeat steps 4 – 11.

Of course, if you’d like to purchase the real game of Scatergories it’s available anywhere you buy board games including


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