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This educational game allows students to convey the meaning of a term or concept through pictures. Having students draw their representation of a word allows for deeper understanding of the meaning of the word.

How to use

1. Create

Create a list of vocabulary terms or concepts relevant to the current topic or unit.

2. Divide

Divide your class into groups of three or four students. Give each group a marker and a white board or pieces of scratch paper to draw on. Ask them to draw a score box on their paper or whiteboard to keep track of their points as they play.

3. Send

Send one student from each group to the front of the room to get the first word or concept from you. Whisper and/or show the word(s) to the students on an index card so the rest of the class won’t know the word.

4. Draw

The students then return to their groups and get ready to draw a pictorial representation of the word without speaking and without using words or letters. Set a timer for 30 seconds to one minute (depending on the difficulty of the representation) and then tell the students to begin drawing. When their group correctly identifies the word within the time limit, the group gets a point.

As you’re watching students play, choose the drawing that is most representative of the concept and share with students. Lead a discussion about why this is the best representation.

5. Play Again

Have another student from each group come up to play the next round. Continue play until everyone has a chance to draw at least once.

When to use

Use Pictionary during the Guided Practice portion of a lesson or as a review game:

  • After a lesson where new vocabulary was introduced
  • Periodically to review past vocabulary
  • When reviewing for an assessment


Speed Pictionary

Once students are familiar with how the game works, you can play the speed version of the game. Instead of timing each round of play, as soon as a group correctly identifies the word, another student in the group should come up to you for the next word on the list. The first group to complete all the words on your list wins.

To keep yourself from getting confused about which vocabulary word to show a student, number each of the words or concepts you are using for the game. Create a set of cards for each group with the numbers 1 through 6 (or however many concepts you are using). As students come up for the first word, give them the card with number 1. When the next person comes back for the second word, he or she should return the card with number 1 and pick up the card for number 2. 

Or you can copy the Pictionary template for each group, number each square, and then have each group bring up their template to show you before the they draw the next word.

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