Word Lotto- ESL Writing Game

Language Skill: Writing
Number of Students: Whole class
Activity Time: 10-15 minutes


  • A whiteboard or notebook with a writing utensil for each student
  • Presentation slides with some disappearing words

Goal of the game:

  • Students choose to write 2 out of the 9 words on the screen and hope that their word remains on the screen to earn points.
  • The students with the most points at the end wins.


  • Students must write out the words that they bet on.
  • Students cannot change the words after the words start disappearing.
  • Students must keep track of their own points.


  1. Review the word list with the students.
    (e.g. listen and repeat or “How do you spell ____?”)
  2. Show the word list on the screen and wait until all of the students have written out the 2 words they want to bet on.
  3. Read the words aloud and have the students raise hands for the words they have written down.
    (e.g. “Who wrote ___?” “If you wrote ___ raise your hand.”)
  4. Start making the words disappear from the screen.
    (e.g. “The word _____ is out! Sorry!” “Good bye, _____.”)
  5. When the word that a student has chosen is gone, he/she must cross out the word.
  6. If a student’s word is one of the last words remaining on the screen, he/she can mark 1 point for the score.
  7. Repeat steps 2 to 6 for a few rounds.
  8. Ask students to count their total points, and have them raise hands for their total points. This allows the students to show off their number of points in an organized way.
    (e.g. “Who has 0 points? Hope you have better luck next time!” “Who has 8 points? Wow, it’s your lucky day!”)


  • This game is easy to prepare as long as the teacher knows how to make items on a presentation slide disappear. Once you make the first slide, it’s easy to copy, paste, and edit.
  • This game is based on luck, so lower level students can experience victory.
  • The number of words on this game is easily adjustable and can also be done with sentences. If you want to challenge the students, you can have a word list and have them write example sentences with it or put the word definition on the slide, and have students write the word.
  • Another idea is to replace the words with pictures in later rounds, so the students have to memorize the spelling and also understand the meaning.


  • If there are slower writers, the fast writers may get impatient. Teachers have to observe carefully. I usually start reading the words aloud (step 3) when the last students start writing their last word.
  • One way to minimize the gap in writing speed is to mix short and long words on the list. Slower students can choose the shorter words, and faster students may choose the longer words thinking that they are more likely to be the last words on the screen.


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