What do you get when you mix Telephone, Pictionary, and a bunch of Greek teenagers?

As a teacher of English as a foreign language, I’ve come to rely on what I like to call the Sneaky Teacher Motive. The Sneaky Teacher Motive is in its element when it represents a real lesson lurking in the background of a really fun game. STMs help keep students and teachers happy. Everyone wins! For example:

Activity – Let’s listen to American rock music and fill in the lyrics!
Sneaky Teacher Motive – Let’s develop our listening skills!

Activity – Let’s play Simon Says!
Sneaky Teacher Motive – Let’s practice listening and learn body part vocabulary!

Today was perhaps the best Sneaky Teacher Motive I’ve ever put into action. My friends and I play a game back home called “Telephone Pictionary,” as it’s a mix of the two games. Here’s how it works:

  1. Everyone starts with a stack of paper, with one small sheet for each person in the group. For example, if 8 people are playing, you should have 8 small sheets in your hand.
  2. To begin the game, everyone writes a sentence on their first sheet. It can be any sentence, but I like to think of it as the first line of a book.
  3. Next, everyone passes their entire stack of papers, with the sentence in front, to the person to their left.
  4. That person reads the sentence, and then moves the piece of paper with the sentence on it to the back of the stack. They then draw a picture of what that sentence would look like (NO words allowed!).
  5. Everyone passes their whole stack, picture on top, to the person to their left. They look at the picture, move the piece of paper with the picture on it to the back of the stack, and (without reading the original sentence) write a sentence about that picture.
  6. You continue to pass the stacks around the circle, alternating pictures with sentences (all the while not looking at anything that came before in the stack!), until you get back to the original owners of each stack.
  7. Then, you lay them all out in order, look at how ridiculously far each one got off topic, and laugh hysterically.

What’s the Sneaky Teacher Motive here? Any creative writing activity helps foreign language students because it makes them put their vocabulary into use; they can use whatever words they want, with the only restriction being that it has to make sense grammatically! Also, many of the English certification exams here require students to describe a picture. Some of the pictures don’t give you much to work with, so it’s good to have practice putting creativity into play here. My students loved it, and it was perfect for a rainy Friday morning!

The students busily writing their first sentence.

It required a little bit of translation in Greek to be sure everyone understood the rules, as it’s a complicated game to explain. But then, they were off & running!

A student drawing Poseidon (who originally started as a Native American!).

Another student has to draw the Devil posing for a photo... which was Poseidon just a few drawings ago!

The result? Sheer hilarity. Observe.

This next set was my personal favorite:

(This picture is the result of a little bit of censorship on my part, as the student’s first attempt featured a loincloth that was a bit… er… graphic for the classroom.)

(“Chat show” is a vocabulary phrase they just had on a recent test.)

Students laughing over the results of one stack, which began as "A new beginning" and ended with a sunflower taking a bath.

It was a fabulous way to wrap up the week. Everyone had a blast, and my Sneaky Teacher Motive was a grand success!

And now… it’s the WEEKEND! On the agenda for the weekend is dinner downtown for my Turkish friend Nazli’s birthday, wine tasting in Drama tomorrow, and on Sunday, Carrie and I are leading a yoga workshop for some students, I’ll run my first eight-miler ever (likely in the pouring rain… ugh!), and I’m going to a swing dancing workshop put on by Lindy Hop Greece. (Yes, such a thing does exist!)

Happy weekend everyone!!



About wrap me in phyllo dough

travel addict. greece-obsessed. grad student. bottomless pit.
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4 Responses to What do you get when you mix Telephone, Pictionary, and a bunch of Greek teenagers?

  1. Julia B says:

    Ha! Indian–>Poseidon–>The Devil, perfectly natural transition. These are hilarious, Kate. Matt had us playing this in the bar before pubquiz a few weeks ago and we had just as much fun. Great job, Teach!

    • k8peterson says:

      Oh man, I don’t even want to know what kind of sick, twisted Telephone Pictionary drawings would be born out of Matt’s psyche. That said, I think there must be Telephone Pictionary at our next reunion, Ms. Back!

  2. Pingback: The Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough 100th Post Spectacular! | wrap me in phyllo dough

  3. Such a great game! Here it is for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch! http://telephonepictionaryapp.blogspot.com/

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