Reverse Charades

The Reverse Charades ESL game is a variation on Charades designed to get the whole class moving.

Students for Reverse Charades ESL Game:4+Time for Reverse Charades ESL Game:10-20 mins
Resources for Reverse Charades ESL Game:
Internet and Projector or Prepared Words/Sentences

You will need a list of suitable words/sentences for the players to act, according to your target language. If you have an projector and an Internet connection, the easiest way to play the Reverse Charades ESL game is to project our online Charades game. If not, prepare the words as separate slides in a computer slideshow, or as a list to write on the board.

In class, divide the students into two teams.

  1. Each team nominates a guesser, who stands at the front of class, facing away from the board.
  2. Unlike normal Charades, where one person acts, the rest of the team acts (using only gestures) what is on the board, while the person at the front guesses.
  3. The teams can either take turns playing (Timed version), or play at the same time (Head-to-Head version). In the Timed version, teams gain one point for each correct guess in thirty seconds (or one minute). In the Head-to-Head version, the team whose guesser guesses correctly first wins a point. If you have to write the words/sentences on the board, play the Head-to-Head version.
  4. At the end of each round, change the guessers.
  5. Repeat as many times as desired. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Target Language

The Reverse Charades ESL game is a really fun warmer or vocabulary review game. As with Charades, you can use it with many different types of vocabulary, namely daily routines, sports and hobbiesjobsanimals, health problems, household objects, musical instruments, emotions/feelings, and adverbs. These vocabulary categories come preloaded in the online game (use Verb + Adverb for adverbs).

Again like Charades, you can also practise almost any grammar by setting a context beforehand. Just ensure you are strict about making the guessers say the entire language structure. For example you could pose questions like What are they doing?What are they going to do?What did they do last weekend? and What have they done/been doing recently? etc. Be aware though that to do this it is essential the teams play separately (Timed version), otherwise they will just copy each other.

Being so flexible, the game can be adapted for any level, beginner, intermediate or advanced. Kids will love the fact the whole class can get out of their seat and move around. And as a teacher, the game is useful for identifying those who don’t understand the vocabulary/actions presented- they will look confused or clearly act the wrong thing!

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