Pictionary or “The Picture Game”


A vocabulary centric warmup. A few students draw pictures to express a word, and the other students try to guess what it is.

Materials Needed

  • None


Divide the class into 2-3 teams. I find 3 works best with a large class.

Divide the blackboard into three sections, and give each team one section.

Have a volunteer from each team come to the front of the class and show them the target word in the textbook, or whisper it to them.

The volunteers must then express that word on the blackboard through pictures, without using letters or words.

The other students must then guess what the target word is. The first student who raises his hand and gives the correct answer (in English) wins a point for his team.

When you are finished, tally the points and announce the winning team.


The target words don't need to be nouns. Verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and abstract nouns often make for a more challenging and interesting game. This helps students develop their communication skills, and symbolic thinking. When given a challenging word, some students may complain that it is difficult. Very often though, they will be able to do it despite their protests. If they honestly can't manage it, and sit in front of the blackboard with a confused look on their face for more than 30 seconds, you may want to give them some hints. For example, if the word is “simple” tell the kid to draw a simple thing and a complicated thing, and then cross out the complicated thing, and circle the simple one.

Many students might not know the word you want them to draw. Be prepared to tell them what it is in Japanese, or have the JTE do so.