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Keyword Game

A game for drilling vocab and grammar which is so easy you’ll be wondering why you didn't invent if yourself. All you need is an eraser.



Materials: Eraser, one between 2-4 students
Ages: 5 plus

How to play

Select one word or grammar point from the unit that you are currently studying or want to review. Place all the flashcards and words on the board, and then pick one word and circle it. This will become your Keyword.



If you don’t have any flashcards you can simply write or draw the images on the board. If you need a picture you can get some great royalty free clipart from this site here.

Explain or demonstrate to the children that they need to repeat the subject names after you, but when you say the keyword they must grab the eraser on their desk and hold it up into the air. The child who grabs the eraser when you say the keyword is the winner.

Divide the children into groups of 2-4 and get them to place one eraser in the center of the desk. Sometimes they fight over whose eraser they will use, so a quick game of rock paper scissors can solve that. Make the kids place their hands on their heads so that they don’t hover them above the eraser or try to cheat.

For this example, I’m going to use school subjects and the keyword will be math. Call out different subjects and make the children repeat after you like this


When you say the keyword the children must grab the eraser and the child who grabs it first is the winner.



I also found this great Youtube video which also explains the game.



Just play the game once or have a point system. I usually play three or five times, and every child who grabs the eraser at the keyword gets one point. The child with the most points after playing it five times is the winner.

You can also drill grammar using the game, for example, I like math, I study math.
It’s a great way to practice their listening and you can use it with almost any subject.

The children will get bored of this fast so you can spice things us by changing the keyword, making their groups bigger, or asking one of the students to come to the front, pick a keyword, and then replace the teacher.

Behavior issues

There are plenty of kids who will happily grab the eraser at every turn on the off chance that they've grabbed it at the right moment. To combat this I added an interesting rule. If a student touches the eraser when it’s not the keyword they must count from 1-20 in English before they can participate in the game again.
I have also seen teachers make their students stand up and turn around three times, or sing a song that they have recently learned. Many students dislike singing songs in front of their classmates, so they will be extra careful not the grab the eraser unless it is the keyword.

Ever played this game or know any other great ESL games? Feel free to comment below.

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