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Salad Bowl communicative game

April 1, 2011

I learned how to play Salad Bowl from my sister back in college! It is super fun to play with friends, and it works well in the language classroom as a PAT game.

But before we learn how to play...

I've got two important cautions.

  1. This is NOT an input-based game. In fact, it's a straight-up output game. So when you choose to play, just know that it's for fun and for circumlocution practice, but it's not doing much (if anything) for language acquisition.
  2. Because it's an output game, make sure that you play with students that have enough language for Round 1!

How to play Salad Bowl

Salad Bowl is easy to play without preparing ahead of time, since students create the game cards.

Setting up the game

First, get a salad bowl or a box to collect game cards in.

Divide the players into two teams and have the players sit alternating, so that no one is next to their team members.

Next, all players will write down a word or phrase (three words or less -- the chair, running with knives, cream cheese carton, etc.) on a slip of paper and fold it in half. If you're playing this in a language class, have students write it down in the target language. All players place the papers into a salad bowl. If the whole class is playing, one paper per person is enough. If you are playing with smaller numbers, each person could add two, three, or four phrases to the salad bowl).

How to play Round One

This round is like "Catch Phrase". The first person grabs a slip of paper out of the salad bowl and describes it using any word other than the ones written on the paper to his/her teammates. Person #1 has 30 seconds to get his/her team to guess as many of the phrases as possible. If a team cannot guess a word before time runs out, the word is returned to the salad bowl. Then, the next person (team #2) does the same thing. Play continues around the circle until all papers are gone.

How to play Round Two

Return all papers to the salad bowl. Play the same way, but the clue can only be ONE WORD. Everyone has seen all of the phrases before, so you are using memory and deduction to figure them out this time. 30 seconds to get as many as you can.

How to play Round Three

Return all papers to the salad bowl. Play like Charades--no words, only gestures. Again, everyone has seen all phrases twice before. 30 seconds to get as many as possible.

How to score

Teams earn one point per word guessed correctly in each round.

Modifications for Salad Bowl

  1. You could play with phrases in L2 but clues in English for lower levels, although that ruins the circumlocution practice!
  2. You could place restrictions on the vocabulary: nouns, verbs, animals, feelings, people in the school, etc.
  3. The teacher could choose the salad bowl words from words/phrases that you've worked with in class.

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