The Secret List: A Non-Prep Vocabulary Revision Game to Kick Off the Lesson

I always start my classes revising what we learned in the previous lesson. I do it for many reasons: it allows students who have missed the previous lesson to catch up and not fall behind, it gives students the opportunity to clarify meanings or pronunciation they haven’t quite grasped, and also it encourages retrieval practice that, in my opinion, is the way to learn.

I really think that the first 5 minutes are really important as it sets the mood for the rest of the lesson. That’s why I  am always designing revision activities that add variety in my lessons and, if possible, fun.

This one I will call The List. It’s quick, fun and effective.

Context: I have been working with the topic Language Learning and my students have been learning some new vocabulary. Time to revise it!

Procedure: Ask your students to write a secret list of 10 words, collocations or expressions they learned during the previous lesson. Ask them to keep it secret.

Pair students up. Tell students they will have 1 minute to try to guess the words on their partner’s list. Say Student A starts trying to guess the words on Student B’s list. As B listens to the words, he crosses the ones Student A has guessed. Ask them to change roles. Let students compare lists and have a look at the ones they could not guess. You might want to write them on the board to revise and reinforce.

Award 1 point for each guess. Need a timer?  Here

Done! Easy peasy!


4 thoughts on “The Secret List: A Non-Prep Vocabulary Revision Game to Kick Off the Lesson

  1. Just easy peasy? Super mega very easy peasy. Thanks for you idea. I’ll start putting it to the test with my students once this blasted coronavirus has gone away.


  2. Hi Anna! Glad to hear from you!!! To answer your question, in this activity students revise vocab taught in the previous lesson, so the idea is that they retrieve from their memory words or expressions learned and just… say them. If any of the words is on Student B list, students B will mark it as guessed. That’s it! Simple! Big hug!

  3. Hi Cristina, easy and fun…but I have a question….how do the students guess the secret words …do they need to define or rephrase or do they just say it?

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