Secret Words

Secret Words is a simple game you can use in the classroom. It can be adapted to many different levels. The game can also be used as a filler activity to take up a few minutes at the end of a class.

Beforehand, prepare a list of words to be used. These should be fairly common and well known by your class. Write each word on a separate slip of paper, fold it and put them all in a small box.

If this is the first time playing the game then you, as the teacher, should begin. Pick a word at random from the box. What you need to do next is start to talk, but instead of using the word itself, substitute it with flump (or any nonsensical word as long as it declines and conjugates regularly).

For example, suppose you picked out the word work. Here’s what you might say:

Each day I come to school to flump. I enjoying flumping, especially with this class! Everyone has to flump really; I mean it helps to pay my rent but the important thing is that you enjoy your flump. I can’t think of anything worse than flumping every day for the rest of my life when I don’t enjoy it…

Of course your students have to try and guess the secret word.


  • With a shy class, rather than bring one student to the front to speak to the whole class, get the students into small groups to play the game. As they play, you walk around monitoring them.
  • Make sure that the students speak on-topic; try to get them to use different variations of the word as above.
  • Keep the words you choose relevant and known. With business English classes, for example, the word should fit in with the theme of the business involved.

Useful Links

Fillers – what they are and how they are used in teaching.

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Posted in Lesson Plans & Activities.

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