Celebrities is a fun game about describing people in a variety of different ways. This adaptation replaces celebrities with sets of vocabulary. The game is highly adaptable to any set of vocabulary for elementary level and above. In my example I’m revising metaphors with an advanced class. Following the example I’ll explain various ways the game can be adapted further.

The game is played over several rounds and the game changes for each round. This is an important part of the revision process as it ensures the vocabulary is considered multiple times in different contexts, which in turn helps the vocabulary become memorable.

Round 1

I’ve made 20 cards representing the 20 metaphors we’d learnt in the previous lesson. The two with examples are the ones that students found most difficult.

CelebritiesI divide the students into groups of 4 and give each group a set of cards. One student deals out all of the cards so that they have 5 each. The students look at their cards and check they are familiar with the vocabulary. At this stage students can ask each other or check with me if there are any phrases they need to be clarified. You can even use these to demonstrate how the game is played.

Students take it in turns to describe a phrase on one of their cards without using any of the words on the card. They could give an example or define the meaning, or both. The other students have to guess the phrase and the first one who does gets the card to represent one point. They continue to play until they’ve each run out of cards. The points are added up to find out who won the round.

While the students are playing ensure you monitor carefully to check their understanding.

Round 2

The cards are collected, shuffled and then dealt out again. For round two the students have to draw a representation of the phrase on their card. This may seem very challenging at first, but it’s quick, fun and easy because the students are actively aware of the phrases they’ve just described. They are often surprised by how quickly they guess each others’ answers. You can see some examples from my students below: celebrities picsThis round works the same as round 1: you get a point for a correct guess and at the end the points are added up to get a winner.

Round 3

The cards are collected, shuffled and dealt out again. The game is repeated, but this time students act out the words without making a noise. This part of the game plays out very quickly because all of the phrases are on their minds and they’re confident in being able to represent them. This means you get quick mimes and quick guesses. The points are added up to get a winner and the game is over.

This game is really a combination of several games but it is the fact that you combine them that makes the game work so well. Over the course of the game the phrases become linked to explanations, examples, drawings and mimes. This means that they are far more memorable and they are intrinsically linked to each student’s experience of the game.


In this version there were three rounds using spoken explanations or examples, drawings and mimes but you could alter the game significantly and still keep the core idea of fun rounds which repeat and reinforce meaning. Here are a few examples:

  • Include a round where you can only say three words to describe your card.
  • Include a round where you can only mime using your hands on the table.
  • Before playing you could ask the students to prepare sentences using the phrases and then use those for the game, including a more personalised context.
  • You could play in teams where you have a minute to describe as many words as possible to teammates. Any that your team doesn’t guess get passed over to the other team for them to guess.

There’s no real limit to what vocabulary or chunks of language you revise with this game and there really are a lot of ways you could expand on this core concept, so I’ll be returning to this idea again in a future post.

For more games involving drawing please take a look at my adapted versions of pictionary and drawful.

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