categories game with skeleton texts

Here is a vocabulary-slash-writing activity that is based on the popular game Scattergories. In the unlikely case that you are not familiar with the game itself or the nature of it, play the short video below.

And here is how the activity unfolds. Write this on the board (or display on a screen) for the students to copy. Alternatively, you can make copies for the students but, as it is a short text, it is more practical to simply let the students copy.

I know a very (adjective) ………. woman. Her name is ………. . She is from (country) ………. and she lives in (town) ………. . She is a (job) ……….. . She likes (sport) ………. .  She likes (food)………. and (drink) ……….   very much. She loves (verb) ……….  at home and in the summer she enjoys (verb) ………. on the beach. 

Ask the students if they know Scattegories game. Have they ever played it? For beginning or elementary students, you may ask questions in their L1 or you can ask them: – Do you know Scattergories game? Can you play it? Do you like it? Is it fun? Are you good?

You will be giving them a letter of the alphabet and it will be their job to fill in each gap with a logical word starting with the given letter. Give your students about a couple of minutes for the challenge. They can play individually or in small groups. If a student or a group does the task before the two minutes are up, they should say “Stop!” and everybody else will have to put their pens down. In your head you can go through the letters of the alphabet and wait for a student to tell you to stop and then you can reveal the letter of the alphabet that was in your mind at that point. So here’s an example for letter “C”

I know a very clever woman. Her name is Clara . She is from Cuba and she lives in Cairo. She is a carpenter. She likes cricket. She likes cauliflower and coconut water very much. She loves cooking  at home and in the summer she enjoys camping on the beach. 

This is a very adequate text for beginning and elementary students with perhaps the exception of “enjoys” followed by -ing but you can preteach the meaning of “enjoy” and also let them know that it follows the same grammar as “like” or “love”. Alternatively you can use “like” instead but I would personally use the activity to teach something on the side.

Some text-based textbook material may actually present itself well for this type of activity. This would be a slightly more challenging -and fun- activity for the students taken from an Elementary book.

big bang.JPG

Third Edition Solutions Elementary, Oxford University Press. Free sample from publisher here.

And the resulting skeleton text could look something like this.

The (name of show) ………. is a comedy show about a group of friends in (town) ………., California. Leonard and Sheldon are (job) ……….. They work together and they share a flat too. Two other friends from work, Howard and Haj, often visit them. (Name) ……….  lives opposite. She works in a (work place) ………. . She likes Leonard and Sheldon but they are very different from her. A lot of the humour comes from (noun) ………. . It’s a simple idea for a show, but millions of people watch and enjoy it every week. Clearly, people love shows about friends!

Can you think of words beginning with “C” to complete the gaps in under two minutes?

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