Games Using The Whiteboard


These are a couple of games using the whiteboard which have received good reviews in classes:

Backs to the board

This can be adapted to any number of topics, but I originally learned it with numbers; it works especially well with beginners practicing saying and hearing the difference between 13/30, 15/50, etc. If you can, get the students to call out numbers and you write them randomly all over the board. Two students come up, each gets a different color marker, and they stand with their backs to the board. The task/competition is for the class to call out one number from the board at a time and the two students have to quickly turn around and find that number. The first one to circle that number gets a point for that, but if you are using different colors you can just tally up at the end. This can be hard to explain/give instructions for at first, but with my beginner classes I just model it myself. I get the two students up there with pens, stand in between them, and theatrically call out “seventeen” in that way that shows someone else is talking, and then, again theatrically, spin around and circle it quickly.

Board races

Higher levels teams can compete on themes (“animals”) but with lower levels, teams can spell a word or write a sentence word by word.

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Students form two teams standing in lines facing the board. With the higher levels with a theme, they have one/two/three minutes to come up with as many examples as possible and they get points for any that are not duplicated in the two lists.

For lower levels, the first student gets a pen, and the rule is always one student, one word/letter, depending on the goal. So, if it was the word English, Student 1 writes E and passes the pen to his teammate Student 2 who writes N (meanwhile Student 1 has gone to the end of the line) and passes the pen, etc. Both teams are writing at the same time and the team that finishes first (and is legible, has spelled the word correctly, etc.) is the winner.

The “formation” for board races (two teams of students, the first two competing and then moving to the end of the line after one round of the game) is good for a number of other activities, including songs, or you giving the definition of a vocabulary word and students coming up with the word itself.

Find more TEFL games here.