The Stop ESL Game is a category-based vocabulary game, very similar to Scattergories and perfect for a quick warmer.

Students for Stop ESL Game:2+Time for Stop ESL Game:10-20 mins
Resources for Stop ESL Game:

Divide your class into teams of one, two or three students. Each team will need a piece of paper.

  1. Give the teams six vocabulary categories, e.g. foodanimalsadjectivesjobssports and hobbieshousehold objects etc.
  2. The teams divide their piece of paper into six columns, and write the six vocabulary categories at the top of those columns.
  3. Give the class a letter of the alphabet, then shout “Go!”.
  4. The students have to write one word in each vocabulary category as quickly as possible. Each word has to begin with that letter.
  5. When a team has completed the six columns, they shout “Stop!”. The other teams must stop writing.
  6. Ask the teams to swap papers and check each other’s answers. Each unique word (not written by any other team) is worth one point. Any vocabulary word that has also been written by another team is worth half a point. Students are therefore rewarded for thinking of more obscure vocabulary words.
  7. After swapping the papers back, start another round with a different letter and repeat.
  8. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Target Language

Unlike Scattergories in which students have to write multiple vocabulary words, in the Stop ESL Game (like in the official Scattergories game) they only require one, which perhaps tests their knowledge less. However, that does make it accessible for students with a limited vocabulary (useful for kids and lower levels), and it also requires less time.

You can adapt Stop for beginner, intermediate or advanced levels simply by varying the categories. Try choosing categories that you have just studied to test your students’ knowledge.

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