By Kevin Fabris

January 11, 2017

5 - 10 Minutes, EFL, ESL, Fun, Guessing Game, High School, Practice It, Some Materials Required, Word Game, Young Learner

ESP is one of my all time favorite games. It’s a great guessing game that lets you review a ton of vocabulary and any target language at the same time. To win this game your students must “read your mind” and guess which vocabulary card you’re thinking about.

The Details About ESP:

  • ESP is meant to review newly learned vocabulary.
  • With a class of less than 8 students the only materials you’ll need are some vocabulary cards.
  • For a larger class you might want to use some magnet as well. Just so that you can put the cards on the blackboard so that everyone can see.
  • A round of the game usually lasts less than a minute. I usually play multiple rounds and stop the game after 5 minutes or if the game starts to get boring.

In this example we are teaching Toys as our topic  and  the target Language:

S1 - What do I want?  

S2 - Do you want a _boat_ ?

S1 - Yes, I Do.  No, I Don’t .

Here's How To Play ESP:

  • Pre-teach your vocabulary cards and the target language you’ll be using.
  • Slowly place all of your vocabulary cards on the floor or blackboard. Each time you add a new card use the games language “Do I want a boat?” “Do I want a teddy bear?
  • Pick one card in your head and remember it. Now ask the target question “What do I want?”.
  • This is the hard part. You have to convince your class that you’re trying to send them the answer with the use of ESP. Basically you have to look at your students with a look of complete  concentration on your face while touching your forehead.
  • Ask the target question again “What do I want?"  
  • Then model the answer so that your students figure out how to play. Do you want a boat? Do you want a helicopter?  One student will figure out what you’re doing within a few seconds and then their classmates will follow their lead.  If a student doesn’t use the full target sentence, model it again. “Do you want a teddy bear?” Prompt the student to repeat after you and when they do,  give them a high 5 so that the entire class figures how to play.  
  • When a student guesses your card correctly, congratulate them and then quickly start another round of ESP.  
  • After a few rounds of ESP remove yourself from the game and let your students take turns being the teacher.  I find that this game works best if you keep it to under 5 minutes of class time.  Like every game, if you notice that it is starting to get boring.  Stop playing so that you can use the game again in the future.
  • ESP:

        • It’s an easy way to review a lot of vocabulary.
        • It’s fun.
        • It has almost no teacher talking time if you set it up correctly.

    Watch more here:

    May 31, 2020

    Text expansion is a great whiteboard game to

    May 31, 2020

    This video is packed with a ton of

    May 31, 2020

    This is an activity given to us by

    May 31, 2020

    Get the Cards Here

    March 22, 2017

    This game is a great twist on Tic

    March 8, 2017

    A Comparison Chain is a fun and easy