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5 Drawing Games

Games like Pictionary are popular games in the classroom. They are simple and easy ways to revise vocabulary and are usually a welcomed break away from the text books.

This post will look at some other ways to bring drawing into the classroom in order to practice grammar and vocabulary. 

1. Pictionary 

Activity Time:  5 minutes +
Materials required: Whiteboard and marker, a timer
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking and Vocabulary.
Level: All levels


1. Put the class into teams. 

2. Teacher shows a word to the first student from one of the teams.

3. Students have to draw on the board in order to make their team guess the word they are trying to draw.

4. If the team guesses correctly, they get a point. You can give a certain amount of time for the team to guess and make the game a bit more interesting. After the time is up, the other team try. 

Some ideas for picking words are; vocabulary seen in previous lessons, actions, films, famous people, subjects and just about anything you can think of. 

This game can also be used with “Bomb” scoring system.

2. Slow Pictionary 

Following the same directions as pictionary above but with a twist. In slow pictionary, students draw their pictures line by line making it a bit more difficult. You can award points by the number of lines used etc.


1.Start by drawing a single line.
2.Draw more details. The students say what it could be.

3.Add each detail one at a time.
4.Keep drawing until someone guesses correctly.

3. Describe and Draw

Activity Time:  10 minutes +
Materials required: Paper and pencils for each group
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking and Vocabulary.
Level: All levels

This is a simple activity with very little preparation required. One student has a picture and describes the picture while the other student draws what the other student describes. This activity can be a great way to practice speaking and listening and is always enjoyed by the students. The end results can be hung around the class room.  
I have written a dedicated post to this activity which can be found here.

3. Drawing Race

Activity Time:  10 – 15 mins +
Materials required: Paper and piece of paper for each student. 
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening, prepositions and Vocabulary
Level: All levels


1. Each student must have a piece of paper and a pencil. 

2. Teacher of a student describes a scene e.g a classroom “There is a desk in the middle of the room.”

“Next to the desk there is a teacher”

3. Keep giving details until you have practiced all the vocabulary.  The first student to complete the picture with all the correct details is the winner. 

4. Picture Running Dictation 

Activity Time:  5 +
Materials required: Paper and piece of paper for each student. 
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening, prepositions and Vocabulary
Level: All levels


1. Choose some pictures related to a topic area that you are studying.

2. Place the pictures at the front of the classroom. (Make sure to move any obstacles to prevent accidents!)

3. In pairs, one student runs to the picture and then describes the picture they see to their partner who draws the picture. 

4. When they are finished, the students can vote the best or most accurate picture to be the winner. 

5. Draw The Sentence

Activity Time:  10 +
Materials required: White board and marker.
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening and Vocabulary
Level: All levels

1. Make cards with target sentences. e.g “The man is running”. You could use sentences from the book or sentences that other students have written.

2. Students have to draw the sentence they read. 

3. The other students must say or write down what the sentence is. 

Literal Lyric Video

Everyone has heard of Literal videos, but this week’s post will look at literal lyric videos as a way of developing English Language skills.

Click the video to view an example video made by my class. 

The concept is very simple. You select a song (preferably related to the current topic the students are studying) and print a copy of the lyrics. You allow the students to listen or read a copy of the lyrics and they decide what they think the song is about. While you can do this a number of ways, I have had great success doing the following:

1. Make a few copies of the first verse. I choose “She is Leaving Home” by The Beatles. I decided to start with a running dictation to introduce the song and practice their listening and speaking skills.

First verse running dictation

2. Pre-teach key vocabulary. For this song I taught the following:

clutching, handkerchief, sacrificed, snores, denied, dressing gown
3. Tell the students they are going to listen to the song. They have to decide what they think the song is about and why. They must write down any reasons for their answer. Students listen to the song once and have a discussion.
Some questions: Who is she? Where is she going? Why is she leaving? 
4. Before class, cut up the song into the number of students you have. Give each student a lyric and a blank piece of paper. Tell the students they must read the lyric and draw a picture to represent what they have read. Give them a time limit 5 minutes is usually long enough, depending on how long the lyric is. Ask them to color the picture and when they are finished, to write the lyrics on the back of the drawing.
5. After class, scan or photograph the pictures and using a video editor such as iMovie on the Mac or Microsoft Movie Maker and add the pictures and the music. These programs are very easy to use and the video can be put together quickly.


6. In the next class, the students watch the video. Check that they remember the key words taught in the previous class. You can give them a gap fill to complete if you wish.
This is a great way to get the class to create something in the limited class time that you have. It’s also a fantastic way for the class to achieve something together as a group, which promotes a positive classroom atmosphere whilst developing their language, reading and interpretational skills.

Found this post useful? Find more posts on Music in the ESL classroom here

Click here for a copy of “She’s leaving home” Lyrics

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