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What's Missing?


Today's Snack: On a paper plate or piece of plastic wrap, place these five things: a baby carrot, a celery stick, a broccoli floweret, a cauliflower floweret, and a red pepper ring. Point to each food item and say its name out loud. Now have someone else play a game with you. That person should shut his or her eyes, or turn the other way, while you select one of your five food items, and eat it. Then that person should turn around and guess what's missing. If they can, they get a point; if they guess wrong, YOU get a point. Now have them look away again, and choose another food item to eat. When you're done, have them turn around and guess again. Can you eat all five and win this game, too?






Set of picture cards, either prepared or homemade

OR five different items - see below



What's Missing


Here's a fun game. It will help you learn new vocabulary words. It will also help you stretch your memory skills. It is fun to play this with at least one other student, or a small group of children.


The object of the game is to get the most points by naming the card that is missing from the group. All you need is a set of picture cards.


The teacher or student leader should put five picture cards face up in the center of the table. As a group the students can identify the cards as they are placed in front of them by saying the word out loud. So if it's a picture of a cat, the students should all say "cat."


Once all five cards are on the table, then everyone is given a short amount of time to study the cards. If you don't have picture cards, you can also use a variety of small objects: a spoon, a watch, a necklace, a sock and a pencil, for example.


One student is chosen to turn around so that he or she cannot see the cards on the table.


While the student's back is turned, the leader removes one of the cards and hides it where no one can see it. The rest of the cards are shifted around so there is not a "hole" where the missing card belongs.


The student is told to turn back around and after looking at the cards, and name the one that is missing. A point is given for each correct response. Then the other students get a turn. The first one to five points wins the game.


To make picture cards for this game:


  • Cut out pictures from magazines or catalogs, pictures taken from a digital camera, or photocopies of pictures. Sight words can also be used for more advanced ESL students.


  • Glue pictures on cardstock and laminate. Now you will have a set to use with this game or other games.


  • To make the game easier to play, allow students to give clues to help their classmates remember a missing word or picture.



-- Submitted by longtime educator Cynthia Jernstrom


By Susan Darst Williams ESL 02 2008

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