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15 things to do with an OHP

If you’ve ever made rabbit shapes with your fingers in front of the OHP, you know how fun it can be. Here are 15 ideas on how to tie that fun in with your teaching. If you don’t have an OHP, many of these can be done with just a whiteboard, a blackboard or flashcards. […]

If you’ve ever made rabbit shapes with your fingers in front of the OHP, you know how fun it can be. Here are 15 ideas on how to tie that fun in with your teaching. If you don’t have an OHP, many of these can be done with just a whiteboard, a blackboard or flashcards. Ones that can be done without an OHP are explained in each description below.

1. Out of focus
Put a picture on the OHP when it is out of focus and get students to guess what it is as you slowly bring it into focus. This is good for language like “It looks like” and modals of probability and possibility (”It could be a…” “It must be a…”), as well as practicing vocabulary.

2. Picture striptease
Reveal a picture slowly by putting it on the OHP with one or more sheets of paper covering it. Slowly pull back the pieces of paper to reveal the picture, until students guess what it is. This can be used with the same language as Out Of Focus. You can also do something similar just by revealing one flashcard from behind another.

3. Text striptease
In a similar way to Picture Striptease, start with a text fully covered and reveal it a bit at a time until students guess the whole thing, for example getting students to guess the end of the story, the final line of the dialogue, or identify what kind of text it is (memo, report, telephone message etc).

4. Text striptease hangman
This is like Text Striptease, but you reveal the text word by word until students can guess the whole thing. Individual words can be covered with small pieces of paper if the text is short and the words are big, or you can cover the whole text with black board pen and erase the parts over individual words as you reveal it.

5. Reverse text striptease hangman
This is the opposite of Text Striptease Hangman. Show students the whole text and cover it word by word, checking they can remember what is covered until they know the whole text off by heart. Again, words can be covered with pieces of paper or black board pen.

6. Picture jumble
Put lots of pictures on top of one another on the OHP so that it is difficult to see what each one is, then remove the ones that students guess correctly. This can also be done by showing the students the OHP transparencies directly without the OHP.

7. Blind tracing
Use an OHP to put an image on the whiteboard and then give a blindfolded student a board pen. By listening to the instructions of their classmates, they have to try and trace exactly over the image on the board. They can then try and guess what it is they have just drawn. This is good for imperatives and directions, or for measurements in a Technical English class

8. Shadow puppets
The teacher or students act something out using their hands or cut out figures in front of the OHP beam to make a shadow play on the whiteboard, e.g. listening to a radio drama and acting out what happens. This can also be done with a torch in a darkened room.

9. Spot the shadow puppets
Students try to identify what is being made by looking at the shadow on the whiteboard as someone cuts a shape out with scissors on the OHP. You can either slowly cut out an outline, or snip off parts of the paper until only the shape is left.

10. Spot the outline
Students try to identify what is being made by looking at the shadow on the whiteboard as someone erases parts of a transparency covered just with black whiteboard pen on the OHP. This can also be done directly on the whiteboard.

11. Flash it up
Students try to identify a picture or words from a text as the teacher sweeps it across the OHP, takes a piece of paper off it and then puts it back on very quickly, or switches the OHP on and off very quickly. You can do something similar by sweeping a flashcard across the line of sight of the students.

12. Blindfold match
Things that match up in some way (e.g. sentence halves, questions and answers, or jigsaw-like halves of a picture) are cut up and put on the OHP, and someone blindfolded has the match them up with the help of their classmates, who can check how they are doing by looking at the images on the whiteboard. This game is good for making boring grammar exercises more fun. This game can also be done with magnetized sentences etc. on the whiteboard, or with large ones on the floor in the middle of the classroom.

13. Picture dictation
One student stands by the OHP with an erasable pen, and all the other students are given a photocopy of a picture. They have to explain the picture to the person by the OHP until they have drawn exactly the same thing. This game can also be done with the person drawing directly on the whiteboard.

14. Sentence expansion
Use the OHP to put a sentence or dialogue on the whiteboard. Students from different teams take turns adding words or phrases to the text, e.g. to make it more descriptive or more polite. Continue until all the teams can’t come up with any more correct additions. This game can also be played with just the whiteboard.

15. Memory flash
Quickly turn the OHP on and off so that students get only a quick look at the text or picture. Change one small thing about it, and then turn the OHP back on again until they spot what has been changed. This game is good for practice of “used to” and the Present Perfect.

Written by Alex Case for TEFL.net February 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

2 Comments

  • Alex Case says:

    Never had that problem, but thanks for the tip. I guess you could just cover the light somehow instead, for example putting a piece of paper over the OHP and then drawing the next part under it.

  • Alex Case says:

    Good point. I’ve never been lucky enough to work in a school with screens as well, but if you were in that position most of these games would work almost as well with students writing directly on the OHP.

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TEFL.net : ESL Lesson Plans : Classroom Ideas : Teaching : 15 things to do with an OHP