This game is designed to help students practice vocabulary as well as grammar. The lesson below was made for upper-intermediate students, but the same strategy could be adapted for various levels and ages.

This is a ‘micro role play’ where students speak from the point of view of someone with a particular job for a single sentence.


Ask students write a list of 12 jobs that are common in their town or city. They should work on their own for this part. The teacher should write down the sentence starters (or ‘chunks’) on the board while students work.

In the example we’re using a range of time and conditional expressions.

example micro roleplay jobs chunks.png

Once most students have finished, or nearly finished, ask them to compare their lists of jobs in groups of three. Then, monitor and assist students with any jobs they’re struggling with, including spelling and pronunciation.

Ask students to look at the board. I ask them to look at their list of jobs, and imagine what someone with that job would say, while using one of the words or phrases on the board.

It’s important that students use the first person for their sentences, so you should give them a couple of examples:

A doctor might say, “Go home and get some rest, and remember to take your medicine before you eat your lunch every day.”
A lawyer might say, “Don’t talk to the police until you’ve spoken to me first, and then I will tell you what to say.”

How to play

I ask students to look at their jobs, and to think of one sentence for each phrase on the board. They should make some notes, but they shouldn’t write full sentences. Monitor and assist, then when students seem to have finished ask them to stop and to get back into their groups of three.

Ask students to take it in turns to say their sentences. While one student is speaking, the other two listen and try to guess the job. This may seem challenging, but they already know which jobs they each wrote because they shared their lists earlier.

They continue until they’ve gone through all of their sentences. Early finishers work together to think of more sentences, especially if there are any phrases on the board that they haven’t used yet.

Once all of the groups have finished, ask them to work together and write down one sentence for every phrase. Monitor and assist, because while the sentences don’t have to be perfect, it is important that the phrases on the board are being used correctly.

This creates a guessing game for other groups to play and ensures that students see a variety of sentences using the phrases on the board. Students swap their sentences with other groups and then guess the jobs (without writing on the page, because otherwise it would ruin the activity for the next group).

Here’s an example (below) of the sentences from one group. The job list should include all of the words they thought of in the first part of the activity.

example student sentences.png

Follow up and adapting the game

Next lesson, you can bring the sentences back and ask students to match them again. This is a useful and easy revision exercise, and I think starting with a quick activity like this helps to get students in the right frame of mind for the lesson.

For weaker students you can give them more support when they’re thinking of sentences. For stronger students at higher levels, you can skip the writing stage and instead ask students to mingle and play the game in pairs. This is a bit more challenging, because as students mingle with other groups, they won’t have the advantage of seeing the list of jobs when they’re trying to guess.

The game could be played with any chunks of language on the board, and could be used for revision or as freer practice in your lesson. You could also use different vocabulary than jobs; the game would work if you used personality adjectives, family members or animals (depending on the age and level of your students).

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