Monkey Abroad

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ESL Game
ESL Game

Kick Ass ESL Game: Sentence Showdown


The best part about being an English teacher is creating and implementing ESL games to use in the classroom. That’s why I’m going to post a new Kick Ass ESL Game every week as a resource for other English teachers abroad. I’m so confident your students will love these games that I’m giving you my Kick Ass ESL Seal of Approval.

Sentence Showdown

WARNING: This ESL game is so kick ass that your students might have too much fun screaming and shouting English phrases at each other. That’s to be expected. Keep them under control when this occurs. [Student level: intermediate to advanced]

ESL Game

Kick Ass ESL Game: Sentence Showdown

  • Write a sentence at the top of the whiteboard/blackboard with the words jumbled.
  • Write something like, “cat cute that so is” (That cat is so cute).
  • Solve this example sentence yourself, eliciting help from your students to arrange the words properly.
  • Once they understand the concept, split the class into 2 teams.
  • Call on one student from each team to compete next. I like to choose the texting, chatting kids in the back of class first.
  • Once a student from each team is in position to write on their side of the board, it’s time to play.
  • Write a new jumbled sentence at the top of the board.
  • While the two students race to write the sentence correctly, encourage the class to help their teammates.
  • The first team that writes the sentence correctly gets a point. The team with the most points at the end of class wins.

Easy: 1 point — “buffalo like smell you a” (You smell like a buffalo).

Medium: 2 points — “forever and me friends be you will” (You and me will be friends forever).

Hard: 3 points — “I’ve heard that’s thing ever funniest the” (That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard).

Keep the pace of this game fast. Have at least 15 jumbled sentences prepared so the momentum of the game doesn’t slow. If there’s too long of a lull in-between rounds, the students will get bored.

This ESL game can be adapted to all levels of English proficiency. For younger learners, use very simple phrases and sentences, sticking with material they’ve already learned. For advanced students, make the sentences difficult, or even introduce them to totally new words and phrases.

I hope this Kick Ass ESL Game works for your students as well as it did for in my classes!

Author: Kevin Cook

I want to inspire you to pursue your own dream of traveling and/or living overseas!


  1. Pingback: Amazing Teacher - Page 2

  2. This is a very interesting way to build interest towards the language. Haha awesome!!

    Leh, Malaysia

  3. looks good, i will try this tomorrow, thanks!

    • I am an English teacher in Indonesia. I tried this game to my large class and it’s very useful to upgrade the student’s motivation to learn English without feeling stressful.

  4. Hi Kevin! I found your website today and love the sentence showdown game. I’m going to use it today and see how it goes. In your post you said you’d post kick ass games every week, but this is the only game I found. Are they hidden somewhere else on your blog? Or did you realize how time consuming it would be and changed your mind? 🙂 I know that’s what would happen to me. Anyway, thanks for this awesome idea.
    A fellow American living abroad- Jessica, Barcelona

  5. So interesting and useful. I will use this game next week. Actually, I teach French language but however this can also adapt to my public. It can help me so much in order to keep the class motivated. Also, my students will not be bored.

  6. This looks awesome 🙂 I’m excited to try it.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy travelling 🙂

  7. Pingback: Teaching ESL | The World In Your Palm

  8. .only celssic student

  9. I am an English teacher in Indonesia. I tried this game to my

  10. This site has helped so great for me and my students here in France, thanks!

  11. Easily adapted for large (55 students) classes and varying levels. Thanks so much!

Let me know what you think


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