Teacher instructing students in class.

This activity is designed to be used as a vocabulary review or test of existing knowledge of the learners' vocabulary. It generates lots of words and is a lot of fun. The categories can be changed to suit the level and learner.


Make a list of ten words for a number of categories depending on your learners' needs (do this alphabetically as it will be easier to scan for answers if using procedure 2). There is an example attached of categories you could choose. Print out answer sheets for learners in groups.

Procedure 1

  • Put the learners into teams depending on the class size and distribute the answer sheets.
  • Explain to the learners that they have one minute to write down as many words as they can think of that relate to the category that you choose. They will receive one point for every word that is the same as yours and a bonus of five if they get all ten.
  • Tell students the name of the first category and set a time limit. After the time is up tell the learners to stop.
  • Ask the learners to swap their answer sheets so they can check each other's answers.
  • Read out your answers, while you do this learners check each other's answers and give the sheets back to the other groups. You can be as strict as you like on the spelling.
  • Ask students to tell you the scores and keep a record of these on the board.
  • Repeat the procedure with different categories.

Alternative Procedure

  • Put the learners into teams depending on class size.
  • Explain to the learners that they have one minute to think of and say words related to a category that you choose.
  • The teacher then selects a category and tells group A his or her choice.
  • Group A then have one minute to shout out the words you have written on the list.
  • The teacher says yes or no depending on the whether they are on the list or not.
  • Teams score one point for each word and a bonus of five if they get all ten.
  • Select a different category for teams B and C and repeat.
  • You could use the opposing teams as timekeepers and scorekeepers.

When the activities are over you could analyse the results and decide what lexical areas learners are strong in and what may need more work. You could also deal with any pronunciation areas that need work and any unfamiliar language that learners have been exposed to.

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