The Word Chunk Game

group activity review game teaching Oct 28, 2021

This is a GREAT way to review every Friday over what you have covered. It works if you  have vocabulary lists or are doing One Word Images. Thank you Tina Hargaden for letting putting this game out there as it was a life saver for me while teaching middle schoolers.  The initial set up can be a little intense but it's worth it and, once it's been setup you are good to go for the rest of the school year!

In a nutshell: The Word Chunk Game is where beginning to expert Spanish students attempt to translate Spanish sentences into English and develop better understanding of the Spanish language itself. Over time the difficulty of the sentences is increased, making it more challenging. A fun and easy game to learn.

Word Chunk Game Official Rules


  • A calculator
  • A timer
  • Popsicle sticks
  • A scorekeeper (student or teacher)
  • A gesture judge (student or teacher)
  • Fabric dart board with velcro balls. (or can draw on whiteboard and use a paper ball)

Before Game

  • Develop sentences in Spanish that students can translate
  • Appoint a scorekeeper who will keep the score or Teacher can be the score keeper
  • Appoint a gesture judge or the teacher be a judge
  • Have students create groups of 3-5 people per group
  • Have each group create a name (APPROPRIATE, in English or Spanish)
  • Have each group go to their location splitting them apart.
  • Have students write their Name and their Team Name on a popsicle stick.
  • Have each group develop a signal or gesture such as clapping hands a certain number of times or something else. Can be simple or complicated. Must have a signal involving movement of body parts.

Reading the Sentence Aloud

  • Teacher will start a countdown from 5 seconds 
  • Anyone who talks after 5 seconds, their group will be eliminated from the round.
  • Teacher will say the Spanish sentence twice.
  • Any huddling or talking before the Spanish teacher says the sentence twice will be eliminated

Choosing Groups

  • After the Spanish teacher says the sentence twice in Spanish, groups will have 15-20 seconds to figure out the sentence in English
  • Then the judge, scorekeeper or teacher will pick a popsicle stick from a cup and read aloud which group it is after 15 seconds
  • The gesture judge now watches the group that is picked as the group does their gesture in unison. If not in unison, a new group shall be picked from the popsicle sticks.
  • If in unison, the person whose name was called gets to translate the sentence into English.  If they get help from their teammates they are disqualified
  • If a group does their gesture and answer in unison correctly, then they get 1 tally

Getting Points

  • After 3 tallies, the group gets the chance of scoring points on the dart board with the velcro ball.
  • Each point is either 5, 7, or 10. No triple digits allowed. (if drawing on whiteboard, numbers can be arbitrary)
  • One person will stand behind a line or marked area with the ball and be the thrower (must throw underhand)
  • The others will either stand aside or hold the board straight and send the ball back to the thrower
  • After getting a go signal from one of the judges or teacher, students will have 60 seconds in Skeeball Alley to earn as many points as possible
  • The scorekeeper will add together how much they have.
  • Then afterwards, their 3 tallies will reset to 0

Other rules

  • No arguing allowed with the teacher, nor complaining. No fun when everyone complains and/or argues.
  • If cheating is involved, all points will reset to 0.
  • If groups want to join together points will be taken with the lower score.

HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!



Alternative Rules

  • After choosing a popsicle stick, you can either put it back in the cup or place it outside the cup.
  • If chosen to place outside the cup, after all popsicle sticks of the group has gone, then wait one turn before placing half of the popsicle sticks back in.
  • Different points can be assigned other than 5, 7, or 10 but cannot be more than triple digits.
  • The Teacher can choose the groups if needed.

When learning to play it is recommended to write these steps on the board for yourself and for the students

  • Count Down from 5
  • Say it twice
  • Huddle
  • Gesture (GESTURES REF)
  • Repeat Phrase and then group Translate (or popsicle stick for 1 person)

Learn from my mistakes

  • Talking Referee is to help verify teacher’s decision but not to make the decision

  • Remind Referees about honesty and this isn’t a personal invitation for paybacks or to flirt.  I have 8th graders and as fair as they try to be there are still hiccups where the “cute” team always gets chosen.  I find myself reminding them often about fairness.  I also had one referee take out his bad day on the groups. (This is why I started using Popsicle sticks)

  • I have one person in the group grab a whiteboard and write their team name on it.  When the group raises their hands they also have to raise the whiteboard so the Hands Ref and Points Ref know who they are.  (Or can write group name on popsicle stick as name stays the same all year)

  • In one of my classes I have 3 very fast processors and they formed their own group. They are dominating the game so much that nobody else wants to play. (I have not figured out a way around this yet.)

  •  From Suzanne Rouhana: After I read a sentence, the groups put their heads together for about 30 seconds, then my assistant pulls 1 name (I have popsicle sticks) and that person gets to answer. They cannot confer again with their group, but hopefully have the group's answer to share. If they get it right, their group gets a point. It's much quicker. They are all engaged, making sure everyone in group agrees with answer. I don't put the name back in, so when I play for a portion of the class I can make up 15 questions/sentences, and 15 people will have chance to answer for their group. For me is it less stressful than trying to figure out which hands went up first, and all students feel like they have a chance, since names are drawn randomly.  

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