Easy To Play Vocabulary and Speaking Practice Game for the Language Classroom
As usual, I am always on the hunt for useful speaking and vocabulary activities for vocabulary and speaking practice! Especially low-prep speaking tasks to help my language learners to develop confidence in speaking. Luckily, I remembered this one recently and have used it with some of my KS3 German students for general speaking practice, as well as for food & drink practice.
Taboo is a very low-prep, easy to play vocabulary practice speaking game. The activity is an oldie, but definitely a goodie! This speaking game with a vocabulary focus definitely works better face to face, especially with my PDF version, but it can certainly be adapted for remote learning by putting small groups of students into break out rooms on your teaching platform.
How Do You Play Taboo for Speaking Practice in Language Lessons?
1. Firstly, you’ll need a copy of taboo cards. If you teach German, feel free to use mine generic German taboo cards below, or my food & drink taboo cards, too. If you don’t teach German, you can still edit my cards and save yourself some time!
2. Secondly, a pen and a piece of paper for each group of students to keep a tally of scores would be useful.
3. Finally and as an option, have a little treat for the winners at the ready.
SUITABLE FOR LEVEL:
CEFR A2+, KS3 and KS4
INSTRUCTIONS TO PLAY TABOO FOR SPEAKING PRACTICE IN YOUR LANGUAGE LESSONS:
1. To begin, create your set of taboo cards in your target language. You could edit one of my PDF templates below. Please note: you will need to have some PDF editing software enabled on your device to be able to edit! You can create your set of taboo speaking cards for language lessons by: topic, word group (noun/adjective/verb etc) or random set of words your students should know.
2. Then cut them up into squares – 18 taboo cards per small group of 3-4 people. Alternatively, for distance learning, give the group one set of cards per break out room and allow students to choose themselves.
3. Before starting, award each student in your group 50 points so they have some positive points initially.
4. After that, students put the cards upside down on the table and select one. Without showing the others in the group, each student must describe the word at the top of the box, without saying that or any of the other three ‘taboo’ words in the box.
5. The others must guess. If another student in your group guesses the word, you both get 10 points. If no student figures out the word at the top of the card, you all lose 5 points. The winner is the person at the end of the speaking game who has the most points!
CHALLENGE: As a teacher, you could set a time limit or a minimum/maximum guesses per student to add an extra element of challenge.
If you would like to play taboo in your English classrooms, why not get the official taboo vocabulary speaking game? It’s got hundreds of taboo cards to keep your classes entertained and learning in a fun way for hours!
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If this was useful to use, take a look at other language teaching ideas here: