“Draw what I say” takes on a whole new twist when students can’t see what they are drawing… but having them draw on a paper plate that’s on top of their head? Now that will give you something to talk about!

A game in language classes should never be just a game. A game is a source of input. As you think about games to play and activities to use in class, always ask yourself, “How can I keep talking about this?” In the case of Plate Sketch, a 15 minute game can provide you with days of input.

Describe a picture to your students while they draw it... on a paper plate that's on top of their head! This no-prep game can provide CI for days!

What is Plate Sketch?

Cynthia Hitz shared this super fun, no-prep activity last Christmas. Here’s how you play:

  1. Give a paper plate to each of your students.
  2. Have each student grab a writing utensil that works well (markers are great; pens sometimes have ink problems, and students won’t be able to tell that the ink isn’t working during this activity).
  3. Have students write their name on the concave/outside side of the paper plate.
  4. Have students put the paper plate on their head with the convex (inside/top) of the paper plate facing up.
  5. Tell them that they are going to draw what you describe on the paper plate, on top of their head– yes, this means that they won’t be able to see what they are drawing!
  6. Describe an image or a scene to students, piece by piece, in the target language. Instruct students to draw specific objects, and tell students where to draw them (ex: draw a house. Add two windows. Add a chimney. Draw a person next to it. Give the person curly hair.)
  7. When you have finished, collect all the paper plates WITHOUT letting students look at their work!
  8. Using a document camera (ideally), show the plates to all students and discuss them, just as you would in a game like Write, Draw, Pass or an activity like Card Talk.

You see what I mean? Input for days!

Describe a picture to your students while they draw it... on a paper plate that's on top of their head! This no-prep game can provide CI for days!

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