Introduction to Teaching English Online

Phrazzle Me

Phrazzle Me is a good, fun way for students to reflect on language structures and vocabulary; and one that they really enjoyed.
Reviewed for Teflnet by Alison Susans

Phrazzle Me is a word game made up of 200 wooden blocks. Each side of every block has a word on it – most of them are in black, some in red. Each player picks 7 blocks out of the bag and tries to make a sentence. The next person can then either add to the sentence(s) already on the table or create a new one. Each word gives you points; if you use a red word you get double points and if you manage to use all 7 blocks in one go you get 50 points. The player with the highest number of points at the end of the game wins. The only rules are that the sentences make sense both individually and also in connection with the other sentences. The game can be used with as few as two players and is suitable for any level of student as any words that are too difficult can be omitted from the bag.

I found the game worked best with small groups of 4 players at intermediate level. However, advanced students also found the game a fun way to revise tedious grammar structures such as gerunds and verbs taking prepositions. I split one advanced class into two groups and divided the blocks. This increased motivation as both groups were desperate to win! This only worked though as I had a small group – there are only 200 blocks in total. Getting the first sentence is sometimes a struggle especially for beginners who are not so at ease with the language. If you choose your blocks but do not pick one with a subject on, then getting started can be a challenge. I got round this by placing a subject block on the table, and the students then built their first sentences around it.

One comment I do have to make is that the words “won’t” and “don’t” are included but are written without the apostrophe (WONT and DONT). I know the game is handmade and introducing the apostrophe would entail more work but its absence is a little confusing for beginners and I wonder if it would not lead to future spelling mistakes within this level of students.

Phrazzle Me is a good, fun way for students to reflect on language structures and vocabulary. The students really enjoyed the game and it certainly helped them to remember the grammar they had learnt during the lesson. The teacher does need to take an active role during the game, however, and check the sentences being placed on the board to ensure no mistakes filter in. (I used the errors as food for future lessons.) Phrazzle Me will definitely be on my lesson plans in the future.

Reviewed by Alison Susans for June 2009


  • ELT publishing trendspotter | TEFLtastic blog says:

    […] least as mixed in quality as the big boys. We’ve had some fairly positive reviews on for the board game Phrazzle Me and others, but EFL Geek absolutely refused to write a word on the book that he was sent for review […]

  • Jackeline says:

    I think it’s a funny way to make our students improve their language. They will feel motivated to study in order to win the game. I like it

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