Clue mingle (hard)

Before starting, it is a good idea to revise ways of giving definitions for words. Write some useful phrases on the board. What phrases you use will depend upon the type of words are in your crossword. Here are some ideas:


  • For adjs: It's the opposite of ... It describes something that is ...
  • For nouns: It's something you use to ... It's a type of ... You usually find it ...
  • For verbs: You do this when you ... You do it with your ...

Next, demonstrate to students how to complete the crossword by listening to clues. Prepare the crossword so there are one or two clues more than the number of students in the class. Give each learner a copy of the blank crossword. Say one of the spare clues and elicit the correct answer. Ask learner to complete the answer on their crossword. Now tell the students that they are going to have to memorise one of the clues.

Ask them to stand up and make a line in front of you. Give the person at the head of the line a word from the crossword. Tell them they are going to have to think of a way to explain the word. Ask them to join the back of the queue. Complete until all the learners have a word. When the initial learner reaches the front of the line again, test them to see if they can explain their word. If they can, then take away their piece of paper. If they can not, then give them some help or some more time to think.

Be sure to check that students can remember the number of their word as well, otherwise it won’t be much help in completing the crossword.

Another good idea is to separate the words into easier and more difficult ones. Give weaker students a word from the bottom of the deck to make sure they get an easier word.
Once students have memorised their words, they must mingle with each other and share their explanations in order to complete the crossword. Monitor and offer help with any words that students are finding impossible to complete. After a few students have completed the crossword bring the activity to an end. Give students the correct answers and clarify any difficulties with meaning or pronunciation they may have.