Teacher Edition (Classroom Logistics): Telestrations- an ESL Drawing Game
In this “Teacher Edition” episode of Board Gaming with English, Rich and Dustin talk about implementing an ESL drawing game in your classroom called Telestartions. This is a drawing game that can be used as a warm-up in your class to discover and introduce your students to a new topic. It is also a great way to implement new vocabulary or to review old vocabulary.
Thank you to Revolution Void for their wonderful contribution of a segment of their song “How Exciting” for our introduction. The song can be found in full on this music archive.
Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the song “Mass Mania” for our Classroom Logistics segment and “Squirrelling” for our Surprise Question segment.
Thank you to USAopoly for their wonderful contribution to the board game and tabletop community by making an enjoyable and educational game.
You can listen to us on (or any other platform you get your podcasts):
(Transcript coming soon- support our podcast and email us a transcript of episode 15)
Implementing Telestrations in your classroom is fairly simple. It’s an ESL drawing game that can help your students by using it as a warm-up or to review vocabulary. You can purchase the game and also help support our podcast by purchasing the games from our Amazon affiliate link. We will earn a small commission at no expense to you. Keep reading below to see how to play the game in your class. Also, be sure to check out our resources section to use some printables in your class.
Implementing this ESL drawing game in your classroom is quite simple. All you really need to play the game is a piece of paper and a pen for each student. Follow these steps below and be sure to check out our resources for a printable to give your students to make the implementation of the game as seamless as possible.
- Make sure every student has a pen and a piece of paper.
- Separate students into at least groups of 5 or 6 (you can play with 4 if you want, but it is much more fun with at least 5).
- Have the students fold their piece of paper into as many pieces as there are in each group.
- There should be one folded box for each student in the group.
- Give your students something to draw based on the content you are covering in class, or let them choose what to draw.
- Have them draw this in the first box.
- Give them only 1 minute or so to draw (I usually give students a little more time for the first drawing, so they can get the hang of the game).
- After they finish drawing have each student pass their paper in a circle to the next person in the group.
- Each student should now have a piece of paper with a drawing on it (that is not their own drawing).
- Have students write what they see in the next folded box.
- Have student fold the piece of paper so they can only see the word.
- Pass the piece of paper again to the next person in their group circle.
- Now, each student should have a folded piece of paper with a word on it. They should not be able to see the picture.
- Have students draw a picture based on the word.
- Again, have the students fold the paper so only the drawing can be seen and then pass the paper to the next student.
- Repeat this until each person in the group receives each piece of paper at least one time.
If you are a visual learner, check out this short 1-minute video about how to play:
Our Experience with the Game
Dustin has used this ESL drawing game in his university-level ESL course. The content he was covering was business customs in the world. As a warm-up, he asked students to describe a different business or cultural custom from around the world. Then as a class, they discussed these different customs. This gave students an arsenal of vocabulary about customs and knowledge about different customs they could describe or talk about. Using Telestrations, he expanded on the knowledge they just developed through discussion by playing the game. This way, students were able to teach each other. It was a great opportunity for shyer students or students who did not get a chance to participate in the discussion to teach other students. They were able to learn new customs and vocabulary from each other through the game.
Be sure to listen to the episode to learn more about his experience!
Sometimes, folding papers can be a bit confusing, especially when you have to be careful during the game to be sure students don’t peak at previous drawings or words. We created a PDF that you can use to help with the folding instructions. It also includes numbered boxes to help students orientate the number they should be on.
Drawing Game PDF
Also, if you want to just us some scratch paper, you can cut several pieces of paper into squares and staple them together like a booklet.