Adapting games – Drawful

This is an adaptation of a fun and inventive game that was released just last year. While the original game is played on a computer, this adaptation for the classroom is played on paper. This is a perfect game for revising chunks of language. In this example my class are revising phrasal verbs.

For the game you need a set of sentences (or phrases) that include the language you’re revising (guidance on how to choose your sentences will follow at the end). Divide the class into groups of 4-6 and hand out the following to each student:

  • one of the sentences containing the target language.
  • a sheet of paper ¼ the size of a sheet of A4.
  • four small slips of paper (big enough to write a single sentence).
  • a paperclip.

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Ask the students to write their sentence on one of the small slips of paper. Once they’ve finished and checked that the sentence is exactly the same you collect the printed sentences. Ask the students to ‘draw their sentence’. They aren’t allowed to write any words or draw arrows. The picture as a whole should represent their sentence. Some students may get frustrated if they consider themselves bad artists – encourage them and assure them that bad drawing is part of the game.

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Ask the students to attach their sentence to the back of the drawing (ensure your instructions are clear and demonstrate to make sure everyone follows). Next, students pass their drawings (with sentences attached) to the left, take one of their three remaining slips of paper and then write a sentence that describes the drawing. They should be using the target language, so depending on the level of your students you may wish to have the target language on the board or just some hints. In this case they’re advanced students so all they know is that each sentence contains a phrasal verb.

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When students have finished their sentences they attach them to the back and pass the picture to the left. This is repeated until every drawing has four sentences attached at the back, including the original. While students are writing their sentences monitor and assist. Once the process is completed students pass the drawings to the original artists.

Next each student takes the four sentences from the back of the drawing, shuffles them, and reads them out to their group. Everyone has to guess which sentence was the original. Once every student has shared their sentences they should lay their drawings and sentences together on their desk in front of them. Finally, students stand up and walk around between the groups looking at the whole classes drawings and discuss which sentences are the originals for each of the drawings.

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  • The music’s too loud, please turn it down.
  • The girl gave up on music.
  • She turned on the music.
  • Someone turned up the volume.

When you are preparing your sentences they should be possible to draw but they shouldn’t be too easy. Also, you should have enough sentences for one per student in the class. It’s important not to have repetition.

The game is a lot of fun and creates a lot of interesting variations on your target language. It also means you have a lot of written input that you can use in error correction and from your monitoring you should get an idea which parts of the language are causing difficulties. In this case I’ve used phrasal verbs but any language structures should be adaptable for this game as long as they can be represented in a drawing.

I recommend using this game with intermediate level students and above. I have personally tested the game with several different classes ranging from B1 to C1. Also the feedback I’ve received from other teachers who’ve tried the game has been very positive.

The inspiration to this game was drawful, which you can find in the Jackbox Party Pack. It’s fun for parties and game nights because everyone can join in with a smart phone or tablet and it’s very straightforward to play.

Can you find the matching sentences for these drawings?

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