Active Engagement Review and Reflection

Bag of Nouns Activity for Review, Reinforcement of Content, Formative Assessment, and Fun!

Many of the inspired educators that I work with have shared variations of this playful party game for active review and community building in the classroom or training sessions. If you like using Playdough Pictionary or Charades Race (see previous posts) you will enjoy this one too.

 Active Engagement Review and Reflection

Purpose: Community Building, Communication, Descriptive Language, Active Academic Review, Formative Assessment, Creativity, and Social-Skills Building


Similarly to Play Dough Pictionary and Charades Race “Bag of Nouns” doubles as a playful group building and active training or academic content review and formative assessment. The game involves three rounds so can take a fair amount of time to play.


Materials: scrap paper, pencils a bag, bowl or other container, timer.


Facilitation Suggestions:

  • Use the pieces of scrap paper to write down nouns and place them in the bowl/bag. The leader/facilitator could pick a theme and write up a series of nouns having to do with an academic subject or training content. Or simply ask group members to each write a noun on a piece of paper and place it in the bag. You will need at least three nouns per person that is playing so you have plenty of words to choose from.
  • Divide the group into teams (depending upon the size of the group 2-4 teams work well).
  • The game involves three rounds, which are timed.
  • In round one the team who is up first chooses a player to draw a noun from the bag. The player then describes the noun to their teammates without saying the word on the paper. As soon as their teammates guess the word the player draws another.
  • This goes on until the timer reaches one minute. When the minute is up, the team adds up all of the nouns they were able to guess and receives a point for each one.
  • The next team goes up and repeats this with the remaining words in the bag.
  • Depending on time you might just play one round each per team, or round one continues until each player on each team has had a turn describing the nouns to his teammates.
  • In round two of the game players proceed in the same way, this time using only one word to describe their noun rather than full sentence descriptions. Teammates should try to remember the nouns from the previous round to help them guess.
  • In round three, players must make their teammates guess the noun without using any words at all, but by acting out the word instead. At the end of the three rounds, the team with the most points wins.

 Co-facilitationVariations: You might vary the time limits, use themes or academic content words.

 Reference: A number of the teachers who have attended my workshops have shared this as one of their favorites. There are a number of variations posted on word game and party game websites. Thank you to Averill McDowell, Kelly Cook, Kit Farnsworth, Mary Bouchard and Becca Schutz for sharing variations of this activity during recent summer courses and workshops.

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