Author: Deb Bullock | Published on 1 December 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

My learners love playing Anagrams because they like puzzles and they love team games. We play it in the class, and then sometimes they continue playing it during break time, too. It’s great for remembering vocabulary and spelling.

Stage 1: Plan

Choose 6–10 words from a recent topic e.g. Buildings: school, museum, library, cinema, etc.

Mix up the letters of the words to create anagrams e.g. school = lochos, museum = umumes, etc.

Write the anagrams on the board. Cover them with paper so that they are hidden.

Stage 2: Introduce

Write ‘ginbuilds’ on the board. Say: ‘This is a topic we studied but the letters are mixed up. What is the word?’ (buildings) Ask a learner to write ‘buildings’ on the board.

Say: ‘Let’s play a game. I will show you some words. They are all buildings. The letters are mixed up.’

Put learners in teams of 4–6. Say: ‘Choose a writer for your team. Hands up, writers.’ Check each team has a writer. 

Say: ‘When I say go, work together and write the building words. When you finish, give the paper to me. The first team to finish and have all correct words is the winner.’

Stage 3: Check instructions


  • ‘What do you do when you finish?’ (Give the paper to me)
  • ‘Must all the words be correct?’ (Yes)
  • ‘Must spelling be correct?’ (Yes)

Stage 4: Play the game

Remove the paper on the board. Say: ‘Go!’ Circulate, monitor and support.

Check the answers of the first team to finish. 

If all the words are correct, say: ‘Stop! We have a winner.’ Clap the winning team.

If there are mistakes, say: ‘Sorry, there are some mistakes. Try again.’ Play continues. 

Continue until one team wins. Ask the winning team to write the words on the board.

Stage 5: Extend and share

Ask teams if they enjoyed the game.

Say: ‘Now choose five words and write five true sentences. Each sentence must have one building word.’ Elicit an example if necessary (e.g. I borrow books from the library).

Circulate, monitor and support if necessary. 

Ask teams to share one sentence with the class. Classmates listen and say if it is true. 

Learners can work in pairs to create anagrams for their classmates: at the end of a unit or before a test, give different pairs or groups a different topic and ask them to create anagrams to test their classmates.   


Anagram: a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase

Circulate: Move around the classroom to check what learners are doing, and if they need any help. 

Elicit: How a teacher gets information from learners e.g. asking questions, prompting.

Monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task.

Unit: A smaller part of something big (e.g. a section of a book).