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Catch Phrase (4th grade and up)


Author: Allison Milliner, Highland Hills Middle School, Indiana


Subject: Vocabulary


Objective: To get a team member to guess the vocab word.


Materials and Preparation: You will need small index cards and a timer (or a real Catch Phrase game will work even better). Write one vocabulary word on each index card. I usually have 30 to 40 total cards.


Student Grouping: 2 even teams


The Play:

  1. Divide the class into two even teams and have them sit in one circle. The circle needs to alternate students from each team so that no one is sitting next to someone on their team (sometimes a student may have to if there is an odd number). Boys verses girls works well because it is easy to remember who is on which team.

  2. The teacher will stand in the middle of the circle with the stack of cards and timer. Set the timer for about a minute to a minute and a half.

  3. Start the timer and quickly give one student a card without letting any of the other students see it. The student with the card has to get anyone on their team to guess the word. He/she can not say the word, any form of the word, "it starts with", or "it rhymes with."

  4. Once someone on the team yells out the correct answer, then the teacher picks up that card and gives a new card to the next person in the circle. This continues until the time is up. Set the timer again and start another round with the next student in the circle.


Scoring: The team that does not have the card when the timer goes off gets 1 point. If a student says something that he/she is not allowed to say, then the other team automatically gets a point.


Comments or Variations: This is a great game that gets students to describe the meaning of vocabulary words.

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