Whisper Down the Lane/Telephone Pictionary

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Whisper down the lane (with drawing)

Teacher: Garry Irwin

Class/Grade/Language Level: Junior High School upwards, Elementary school if class is really good

Textbook and specific lesson: None required

Goal: To check students reading and writing competency.

Preparation: A blank sheet for each group with lots of spares in case.

Class time: 15-20 minutes

If I have a spare 15-20 minutes in class, I like to play this game, and the students seem to like it also. In the classroom you usually have up to 40 students (well, my JHS does) and they are divided into eight rows of five. I play this game with competing groups in rows, or with competing teams with their lunch groups.

This game is similar to the game Telephone (is that what it`s called in the US?) where students have to pass on a message from one to the other and then you compare the original message with the message as it ends ups at the end. It is usually played where the students pass the message along only by speaking, which is good for elementary grade students. To make it a little more challenging, I get the students to alternately write a sentence and draw a picture describing that sentence.

For example, the first student in a row will write a sentence. This can be something off the top of their head, or if students are particularly shy at doing this part, you could prepare some sample sentences for them to try. E.g. `The dog is riding a bicycle`, or `The man had pizza for breakfast. ` Then the student passes the sheet to the next student in the row, the student behind him/her. This student then has to draw a picture related to the sentence. When they have finished they fold the paper so that now only the picture is showing. With the next pass of the paper, the next student has to write a sentence that describes what is happening in the picture. They then fold the sheet and the next student draws a picture about that sentence, and so on.

I usually send the sheet up and down two rows before it finishes, which should hopefully be eight to ten students. Sometimes I will have a second sheet moving within that group but going in the other direction. This ensures that everyone gets a chance to both write a sentence and draw a picture, and that no one is sitting around doing nothing for too long (or are tempted to cheat!)

At the end you can simply reveal the answers. Or if you had time for a second round, perhaps give points to teams who got their message around the group relatively unchanged. Points awarded at your discretion!

I find at the end students are very keen to read over the sentences and look at the pictures to see where the changes came from. This tends to be rather funny, as some students send the message in wildly different directions. Students seem to like this game, and all it takes to prepare is a few blank sheets of paper and a quick explanation.