The Who Am I ESL game is a version of the popular party game in which students have to guess the person assigned to them.
One way to play is for students to take turns standing at the front, with a profession or well-known person written/projected behind them. If you have the Internet and a projector available, the easiest way to play is using our online Who Am I game. If not, prepare a list of suitable people beforehand to write/project. This method is best for a quick warmer.
However, for an exercise to practise specific grammar, it can be better to play with sticky notes on students’ foreheads. That way all the students can participate at the same time. In this case you will either need to prepare the people/jobs on individual sticky notes beforehand, or let your class prepare them (if you trust them with that!).
- If playing on the board, one student stands at the front facing away from it. If playing with sticky notes, the students stand up ready to mingle.
- Write/project a person on the board, or stick a name on each student’s forehead.
- Students ask their classmates for clues using yes/no questions about their own identity in the target language (e.g. Am I a musician?). Each student must only give one clue at a time.
- After each question/clue, the guesser says who they think they are. If their guess is correct, they can sit down/remove their sticky note. They can still give clues to other students.
- If playing on the board, repeat the process with another student standing at the front. A good way to choose is to use the person who said the last clue.
The Who Am I ESL game is a popular activity that you can use to practise jobs vocabulary, facts in the present simple, past actions or facts about deceased people in the past simple, or recent actions in the present perfect continuous. It’s great for practising questions in all these tenses. You can use the game in-class, or as a warmer to review these topics.
To practise jobs vocabulary, use different professions as people. Students can ask questions about workplaces, hours, clothes, who they work with etc. For example, Do I work outside? or Do I work with children?
For practising the present simple with beginners, use living celebrities or people in the class. Students could ask questions about physical appearance, profession, nationality etc. For the past simple, use deceased/historical figures (this could be a good cross-curricular activity with school-age kids). You could combine the present and past simple with a mix of people for a warm up activity.
For the present perfect continuous, again use living people. This is particularly fun if students are assigned to their classmates. For example, Have I been playing a lot of videogames?
Twenty Questions is very similar to the Who Am I ESL game, except in that exercise students invent their own identity for their classmates to guess. For a fast-paced, more competitive guessing game based on descriptions rather than questions, try Heads Up.
Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.