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Describe It



BORROWED FROM / INSPIRED BY: Taboo, Charades and Pictionary


GRAMMAR: Review (grade 1, 2 or 3) 


DATE ADDED: Mar 08, 2010


50+ min.
11 votes: 4.5-star

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BRIEF OUTLINE: Talk, Act, or Draw! Whichever you choose, it's sure to be fun and challenging! Describe It is an all-in-one Taboo, Charades and Pictionary game.



  • DescribeIt file: The file is a .zip file
  • Notebook computer with Microsoft Excel
  • Flashcards



  1. Prepare three cards (cut-up a blank flashcard in three) and write "Talk", "Draw", and "Act" on them respectively.  Alternatively, you can print these cards from the "Talk Act Draw Cards" worksheet of the file.
  2. Open the file.  From the title screen, click the "Start Game" button to begin.  NOTE: If you cannot start the game, you may need to enable macros.
  3. On the main screen, select the appropriate level textbook for your class.  If you teach in a high school, click the "Just Play!" button to bypass the options screen.
  4. On the Options screen, select the page number your class is currently on.
  5. The game screen is the actual game that the students see.  The keyword is shown at the top, with a Japanese translation below.  Clicking "Start" will automatically start the timer and display a keyword.  Clicking "Next" will skip to the next keyword.
  6. Basic rules of the game:
    • Divide the class in half: Team A vs. Team B
    • Have a member of Team A come to the front of the class and select a card. Whatever card the student selects, they must perform that task:
      • Talk = Taboo
      • Act = Charades
      • Draw = Pictionary
    • Click "Start" and have the student look at the keyword.
    • If it's too difficult for them, they may pass and see the next keyword but the clock keeps running.  NOTE: They may only pass up to three times.
    • That member must describe the keyword to the rest of Team A while members of Team A try to guess what the keyword is (in English)
    • If Team A correctly guesses the keyword in time, they receive a point
    • If they couldn't correctly guess the keyword, Team B gets one chance to guess the keyword to get the point
  7. Object of Taboo: The object is to describe the keyword by using verbal communication in English only.
    • You CANNOT:
      • Speak Japanese.
      • Use gestures.
      • Spell out words or give hints on spelling.
      • Say a part of the word, for example, "book" for "notebook"
  8. Object of Charades: The object is to describe the keyword by acting and gesturing only.
    • You CANNOT:
      • Speak or make any sound effects.
      • Spell anything in the air using your fingers.
      • Use any prop. (e.g. point at a pencil for "pencil")
      • Walk around the room.
  9. Object of Pictionary: The object is to describe the keyword by drawing pictures on the blackboard only.
    • You CANNOT:
      • Speak or make any sound effects.
      • Use gestures.
      • Write any letters, numbers or Japanese characters.



  • For higher level students, an alternative to showing the Japanese translation in the game screen is to show the word in an example.  This can be used to make the game more challenging since it ensures that the student understands the meaning of the word in English rather than just looking at the Japanese meaning.
  • In the event that you cannot use a notebook computer in class, you can also create printable cards by clicking "Create Cards" on the Options screen.
  • If the students have never played Taboo, Charades, or Pictionary before, you can introduce this game in parts throughout the year.  In one lesson, teach them Pictionary, then next time teach them Charades, and then Taboo.  After three lessons and the students are familiar with the games, mix all three together.
  • You can optionally connect your laptop to a TV or projector in the classroom to take full advantage of the game and keep all the students' interests up.  Click here for more details.



  • Instead of the generic "Team A" and "Team B" names, you can let the students decide on a team name, or you can simply play girls vs. boys.
  • Have your JTE let the students select the Talk, Act, or Draw card as well as keep score on the blackboard.
  • Taboo seems to be the most difficult for students, so give them hints (and write them on the blackboard) such as:
    • Category: sport
    • List: Honda, Toyota, BMW
    • Opposites: not sister
    • Relations: after Monda
    • This game can also be used in HS as a fun way to review words that all students have already learned.
    • For more details, screenshots, and the latest version of the game, visit Nam's website.

If you have an updated worksheet, email it to the site: admin (at) epedia (dot) onmicrosoft (dot) com


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This page was last modified on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 02:06:16 PM