Backs To The Board

As a student learning English must at times be a thoroughly dull affair. As a teacher you can try to mix your routine now and again to provide variety and creative thinking. Don’t forget, the ideal classroom environment is one where the students are uses all their senses and liking language with any other knowledge they have learned.

How to play “Backs To The Board”?

This is a team focused game which can help them review vocabulary and encourages competition.


  1. Get students into two or more teams. Have them create their own team names and write this up on the board (and give stars when the team guesses an answer correctly).
  2. Take a two chairs and place them so the backs are against the board. When someone is sitting in the chair they are facing the class and their back is towards the board.
  3. One student from each team comes up and sits in the chair.
  4. The teacher then writes a word or phrase on the board. For example
    1. “crocodile” (example of vocab)
    2. “Michael Jackson” (example of remembering famous people and their actions)
    3. “An old man walking up the stairs” (example of reviewing gerunds)
    4. “Madagascar” (example of reviewing geography)
    5. “I love to pick up new languages” (example of reviewing phrasal verbs)
  5. The students are then given 30 seconds to try and explain the target word on the board to their team member. They must not say the target word or any other word in the phrase, they can not use body language to help, nor can they use rhyming words.
  6. The first person sitting in the chairs to guess the word or phrase wins a point for their team.

Notes to consider

The class can become very loud quite quickly, so enforcement of classroom order is crucial. Students must use English throughout. Students cannot use conjugated verbs. Feel free to remove points from students if they are frequently bending the rules.

Lower level students can be given help beforehand by giving clues as to the target word’s subject group.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Admin Talker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment