This is a creative speaking activity inspired by a great book by Edward de Bono called “Creativity Workout”. I bought it a couple of years ago and couldn’t help thinking how useful some of the techniques he mentions could be in the classroom.


  1. To recycle vocabulary in a new and memorable context.


One die per pair or group


  1. Draw a 6 x6 grid on the board.
  2. Ask the students to review recently studied vocabulary (words from a specific unit, words belonging to a specific category, etc.) and provide a word for each square – make sure each student suggests at least one word to personalise and give ownership. Make sure the students know the meaning of all the words.
  3. When the grid is complete, put students in pairs. To obtain words for the speaking activity students throw the dice twice: the first throw indicates which column they are going to use and the second indicates which row they are going to use. Depending on the task, they must roll for the number of words and use them repetitively to complete the activity.
  4. The following are just examples of activities that can be done with random words. They could be done in one session or you could choose a few to do as a warmer or plenary :
  • Obtain four random words. Combine the words to create a new business, explain how the business would work and how it would make profit.
  • Obtain four random words. Create a pilot episode of a television series using the random words in any order you wish.
  • Obtain four random words. Use the words to design a new sport and explain the benefits of the new sport to your partner.
  • Obtain five random words. Define a problem your hometown faces and show how the ideas expressed by those words could help solve the problem.
  • Obtain four random words. Create new school subjects using the random words and explain how they would benefit the students.
  • Obtain five random words. You are the president of the country. Create five new rules the citizens must follow using the random words.
  • Obtain three random words. Design a futuristic piece of technology that will revolutionize our world using the random words. Explain how the new piece would work.
  • Obtain five random words.  Using the random words explain to your teacher / boss why you were late for class / school.
  • Obtain three random words. For each of the words produce 5 more words which are somehow related to that word. The tighter the relationship between the two words the better.
  • Obtain five random words. Using the words create an alibi for a relative who has been accused of a crime.

2 thoughts on “Random words

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