Using whiteboards or dry erase boards in the classroom is a fantastic way to increase student engagement and interest in the lesson.
Whiteboards are also great for playing many ESL classroom games, most of which require little prep because all you need is a whiteboard, a marker, and a board eraser.
In this post you can find our top 10 fun and exciting ESL whiteboard games that you can use in your class.
All these games are great for kids and can be adapted to use with older ESL students, too.
Top 5 Whiteboard Game Ideas For ESL Lessons
1: Sleeping Penguins Whiteboard Game
Top of our list of whiteboard games is ‘Sleeping Penguins’.
Sleeping Penguins is Games4esl’s version of the classic whiteboard game ‘Sleeping Elephants’. The concept is exactly the same.
In this game students work together in teams of 4 to write down the correct sentence on a whiteboard.
For this game, you will need the Sleeping Penguins PowerPoint Game Template, which you can DOWNLOAD HERE. All you need to do is type in the key sentences you would like to review in your lesson.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to use a PowerPoint template, you can just write the words and sentences on the whiteboard at the front of the class.
How To Play
Put students in groups of 4 and give each group one whiteboard, a marker, and an eraser.
Next, number the students in each group number 1, 2, 3, or 4. Once students all know their number, then the game can begin.
Tell all students to ‘go to sleep’ (put their heads on the desk and close their eyes).
Then tell the number 1 students in each group to wake up. Show these students the first word(s) in the sentence and tell them to remember the word(s).
Next, tell the number 1 students to go back to sleep and ask the number 2 students to ‘wake up’. Show the number 2 students the second word(s) in the sentence and then tell them to go back to sleep.
Do the same with number 3 and number 4 students.
Next, shout ‘Wake up!‘.
All students should wake up and tell their word to their team mates. Then they should put the words together to make a sentence and write it as fast as they can on the whiteboard.
The first team to write down the correct sentence on the whiteboard is the winner and gets a point.
This whiteboard game is fantastic group activity to review words and sentences that students have learned, and kids really love playing it!
2: Hot Seat White Board Game
Hot Seat is another classic ESL classroom game which requires only a whiteboard.
This game can be played in teams as a whole class activity, or in small groups.
To play, one student must sit in the ‘hot seat’ which is the seat at the front of the class facing away from the whiteboard.
Next, write a word on the whiteboard. The other students must then describe the word on the whiteboard without saying the actual word.
For example, if the word was apple, students might say ‘It’s a fruit.’, ‘It’s usually red or green.’, etc.
Give each team 30 seconds or so to guess as many words as possible.
This is a great whiteboard activity to review vocabulary and practice describing things in English.
3: Tic Tac Toe
Tic Tac Toe is a great game to play with a dry erase whiteboard to review vocabulary and practice making sentences in English.
This game can be played in pairs if you have small white boards for students, or you can play as a whole class in 2 teams. One team will be ‘O’ and one team will be ‘X’.
To play, draw a 3×3 grid on the whiteboard and write 9 English words from the lesson in the squares.
Then the teams will take turns choosing a word and making a sentence. For example, if your lesson is about food, students might say ‘I like / don’t like (chicken).’
After making a sentence, that team then marks that word with their mark ( O or X).
The first team to make 3 O/X in a line is the winner. Then, wipe the whiteboard clean, and start again with 9 other words / sentences.
4: English Quizzes
Using whiteboards instead of paper makes English quizzes a lot more fun for kids. They also enable students to write the answer with large letters and hold up their answer to the class.
The above quiz is a ‘Top 5 Quiz’. This game can be played individually, in pairs, or in small teams.
Give each student / pair of students / team one whiteboard, one marker, and one eraser.
There are 10 questions. Each question has multiple possible answers. Students must write down ONE answer and if their answer is in the ‘Top 5’ answers, then they get points.
For more easy English quizzes that you can play with a whiteboard, click here.
5: Walking Dictation White Board Game
Last on our list of ESL whiteboard games is ‘Walking Dictation’.
This classic ESL game is played in small groups. Put students into groups of 3 or 4 and give each team a whiteboard and marker.
Next, one student from each team should come to the teacher. The teacher then shows / tells these students a word or sentence from the lesson.
Then, the students go back to their team and tell them the word / sentence and they must write it down as quick as possible.
The first team to write down the answer correctly, is the winner and gets a point.
Variation: Another way to play this game, is to make a rule that when the student returns to his/her team, they are not allowed to say the word. Instead they must describe it.
This whiteboard game is a wonderful activity to review English vocabulary and spelling.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found some whiteboard game ideas for your next class.
If you need some whiteboards for you classroom, check out our other post Best Whiteboards and Dry Erase Boards For Students.