Read what a teacher says about this activity:

‘Act it out is a fun activity that learners enjoy playing. Because learners can’t speak during the activity, it’s really good for mixed-ability classes in which learners’ speaking ability is different. It’s also good for developing creativity, and the use of gestures and body language for communicating.’ 

Stage 1: Prepare 

Ask learners to write an action on a blank slip of paper (e.g. cooking, writing, playing a drum, listening to music, dancing). There should be at least 20 items. You can write these if your learners are unable to.  

Stage 2: Demonstrate 

Pick one piece of paper and look at the word. Then demonstrate the activity by acting out the word. Say: ‘Guess what I’m doing?’ 

Stage 3: Act 

After the learners guess correctly, ask: ‘Can I have a volunteer?’  

Ask them to come to the front of the class. Say: ‘Pick a piece of paper; look at the word but don’t say it. Act out the word. Remember not to speak.’ 

Turn to the other learners and say: ‘Guess what the word is.’ 

Repeat with a new word, but don’t let the activity go on too long. 

Tip: In large classes you could do this in groups so that more learners are involved. 

To make the activity even more fun, have two sets of words written on pieces of paper. On set 1 should be actions. On set 2 should be adverbs of manner (i.e. how something is done, e.g. slowly, carefully, angrily). Make sure they don’t get mixed up. The volunteer takes one word from each set and then needs to do the activity in the way the adjective describes (e.g. dancing slowly, cooking carefully, playing a drum angrily).


Demonstrate: To show and explain how learners should do a task.