Published 21st March 2016


Revision is an integral part of learning a language. We all know that in order to learn a language chunk, we need to be exposed to it several times before it becomes a part of our language. This is why we do not expect our learners to produce the language we have taught them immediately. Instead, we incorporate revision activities into our lessons to continuously recycle the language we are learning.

To this end, here are three of our most tried and test revision activities. They are fun, they are competitive and they can be used for any vocabulary that you have been teaching.

Back to the board

B2B is a firm favourite in the classroom. The original game involves, not surprisingly, a student sitting with their back to the board. The teacher then writes a word on the board and the other students must describe the word without using the word itself. This continues until the student guesses the word correctly.

This is a great game in that it gets the students thinking more deeply about the word. In order to describe the word without using the word they will need to think of synonyms, antonyms, word forms, meaning and use. This contributes to a greater understanding of the word. It can also be made more difficult by writing a phrase or a sentence on the board instead of just a word.

30 seconds

Similar to B2B but done in groups rather than in open class. Let your students make word cards – 3 to 5 new words or phrases. This can be new vocabulary you have learnt, but it helps to incorporate simpler vocabulary too, so a card may contain by and large and touch and go but also yellow, McDonald’s and English.

Each student needs to make a few cards so each group of students (3 or 4 in a group) has a set of cards. The students then take turns describing their cards to their team members. The teacher will time them and they only have 30 seconds to describe all their words on a card. Everyone must stop at 30 seconds or if a team finishes within 30 seconds, everyone must stop. Points are then allocated according to how many words were guessed.


You might have played Pictionary before so you’ll know how fun it can be. Arrange the students in groups so that only one member of each group can see the board. The teacher then writes a word on the board which that team member must draw for their team. When someone guesses correctly, the students change seats so that another student gets the chance to be the artist.

Games are a great way to bring revision into the classroom. With these games, no matter how many times you play them, your students will have fun and learn at the same time.