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Students guess vocabulary words from one-word clues, visuals, and motions.


  • 4-8 vocabulary words
  • Index cards


  1. Arrange students into groups of 4 then team them up into 2 pairs (A-B pair, C-D pair).
  2. Write 4-8 vocabulary words students have been learning on the board.
  3. Using index cards, each group of 4 creates one set of cards representing the words, stacking them face down.
  4. Play the Password game:
    Round 1 – One-Word Clues

    • Partner A draws a card, secretly looks at it, and gives partner B a one-word clue.
    • Partner B guesses. If unsuccessful, passes the word to partner C who provides another one-word clue.
    • Partner D guesses. If unsuccessful, passes the word back to partner A.
    • Partner A may provide a third one-word clue. Partner B may provide a fourth one-word clue.
    • If either Partner B or Partner D guesses the word correctly at any time, they place the card into the Password deck.
    • If Partner B or Partner D does NOT guess the word after 4 one-word clues, they place the card at the bottom of the deck to try again later.
    • Students repeat the steps with word #2 with the C-D pair giving the first clue.
    • Pairs continue taking turns giving up to 4 one-word clues until all the cards are in the Password deck.

    Round 2 – Act It Out (Charades)

    • Follow the steps above acting the word out as the clues.

    Round 3 – Sketch It (Pictionary)

    • Follow the steps above sketching the word as the clues.
  5. At the end of the game, groups sequence all the word cards from those they know best to those they know least.
  6. Collect the cards that represent any words the group struggled with in all 3 rounds.
  7. Evaluate the word cards students struggled with as potential clarify/verify words.

Classroom Management

  • “Fishbowl” or model the strategy with a group of 4 students using non-academic words (e.g., types of candy) so the other students see and hear what they are supposed to do.
  • Consider allowing all students to play with 4 non-academic words the first time they play Password (e.g., basketball, football, soccer ball, baseball or ice cream, cupcake, candy, cookie).
  • Time Saver: Implement the game in phases on different days: day 1 – one-word clues, day 2 – act it out, day 3 – visuals.


  • Promote access by allowing students to use their vocabulary journals, consult visual memory aids, or provide them with descriptions/definitions/visuals of the words as they play the game.
  • Allow students to use as many words as they wish to give hints instead of limiting them to one-word clues.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Sequence/rank the words in order of importance or chronological order.
    • Justify how all the words are connected.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.