Backs to the Board


Backs to the board is a simple but effective way to review vocabulary.  This classroom strategy can be used as a filler or as part of a review of the vocabulary your learners have been studying.

I usually have my learners in two teams but there could be more teams for large class sizes.

One learner from each team comes to the front with their back to the board.

You write a word on the board.

Team mates have to help the person facing them guess what the word is by using a range of techniques such as:

  • defining the word
  • explaining the word
  • paraphrasing the word
  • give an example of the word

To scaffold the above you might provide sentence starters or gap fills that model the language the learners should be using for each function (defining, explaining, etc.).

One point goes to each learner that correctly guesses a word.

This is such an easy strategy to prepare and so much fun for EAL learners to take part in!

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