Play These ESL Games On A Whiteboard

There’s no denying that the many advances in technology have greatly contributed to the field of education and learning. However, since digital tools are the norm today, students rarely feel motivated or interested in the classroom.

Digital teaching aids were a novelty once upon a time, but that novelty has now worn off. Today, a laptop is just another tool. So, how do you get students interested in a topic? Well, you go retro. In this case, we are specifically referring to the use of whiteboards.

Whiteboards can be quite effective in getting students to show interest. In this blog, we are going to explore how whiteboards can be used to play games that enhance ESL (English as a Second Language) sessions.


Jeopardy is a classic TV show game that’s sure to make your students think. For this, you just have to divide the whiteboard into multiple columns. Each column will represent a vocabulary category. You will also have to add rows for point values.

Once that’s done, divide your classroom into two teams. To play the game, each team will have to pick a category and point value that they intend to play for. You will then ask a question related to that category. If they answer right, you erase the point value mentioned and add it to the team’s score. The team with the maximum score wins.


For this, split your class into two. The game involves participants drawing actions, scenarios or even writing words picked up from a set of cards. The objective is for the respective participant’s team-mates to find out what the participant is trying to say based on the drawings they are given as clues.

Tic Tac Toe

Using your whiteboard, you can play a more complex version of tic tac toe. For instance, let’s say you want to test if your students understand simple past sense; start by drawing a 3×3 grid. In each square, write a sentence with a “____” in place of the verb.

Now, get your students to figure out which verb fits in the blank. The team that gets the right answers in the tic tac toe order first, wins.

This can be applied to other subjects as well and not just ESL.


Draw a 5×5 square on the whiteboard and mark out 5 rows and 5 columns. Name each column alphabetically i.e. A, B, C, D, and E. Now, assign a question to each square. However, leave three squares blank. The idea is for teams to pick a square and answer the questions assigned to that square.

However, if they pick a square that doesn’t have a question, they lose points. The game is called earthquake because the points are imagined to have been swallowed up by one.

Writing Race

Here, you write a question on the board and request teams to answer the question. However, instead of answering from their desks or seats, the teams will be required to send one member to answer the question on the whiteboard.

The chosen member will have to race the other team’s chosen member to get to the whiteboard and answer the question.