Number one for English language teachers

Team games: Blockbusters

Level: Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra

A simple warmer based on a 1980s UK television show.

Procedure

  • Prepare a list of words beginning with different letters of the alphabet. One possibility is to have 26 words, one for each letter. You can vary the complexity of the vocabulary depending on the level of the group. 
  • For each word,write a question to get students to guess the word. For example:

Word: Laptop

Question: What 'L' is a type of small computer?

  • Divide the class into teams of four or five students. 
  • Write the letters on the board
  • Toss a coin to decide which team chooses first.  That team then chooses a letter and the class is asked the question corresponding to that letter.
  • The first team to give a correct answer in each case wins a point and gets to choose the next letter. 
  • The team with the most points once all the letters have been chosen is the winner.
  • The following are examples of questions at different levels: 'What ‘a’ is a kind of fruit?', 'What ‘a’ is a vehicle that takes you to hospital?', 'What ‘a’ is a joint that joins the leg and the foot'. 

The game is very flexible and can be used to practise a particular word family or type of word such as phrasal verbs. A variation would be to allow each team in turn to choose a different letter of the alphabet and then to give the question to this team only. This would be a slower, more reflective form of the game.

Tip: You can cater for mixed-ability classes by having up your sleeve a number of possible questions for each letter and asking weaker teams easier questions and stronger teams more challenging questions.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • You could also get the students to compile the questions themseves after you have given a few examples.

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