Wheel of Fortune


You won’t exactly be bringing in Pat Sayjack and Vanna White into the classroom with this adapted version of Wheel of Fortune, but the concept is relatively similar. This Wheel of Fortune ESL game is a lot like the game Hangman with the added element of money plus the wheel involved.

Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Age Group: Kids, Adults

Wheel of Fortune ESL Game

Wheel of Fortune ESL Game Preparation:

Before class begins, prepare a number of words and expressions to use for the game. Try to relate it somehow to the textbook that you are using in class if you want to use it as a fun extension to a lesson. Alternatively, you could get the students to think of the expressions themselves during the class in their teams.

If you want to be creative, you could create the Wheel of Fortune money wheel with some paper and a few extra things from a stationary store. Making a flat circular version of the game wheel would be easy with just a few simple materials.

If you want to save time or don’t have the materials available, there are plenty of “virtual” game wheels that you can use online, such as WheelDecide.com. The students could access the wheel with their smartphones or use a computer in your classroom that everyone can use.

Once you have a game wheel ready and the words prepared that you want to use, then you are all set to start the activity.

Wheel of Fortune ESL Game Guidelines:

At the beginning of class, divide the students into teams. Introduce the rules of the game with an explanation and a demonstration of how it works by using an example from the words you prepared. You could even go on Youtube and find some old re-runs of the popular TV game show online to get them even more interested and excited to play.

Have the students think of names for their teams. Put the team names on the board. Give each team some money or “points” on the board next to their team name to start with so that they can “buy a vowel” if they wish to do so.

Next, with a word or phrase in mind, draw the correct number of blanks for each letter on the board for the words. You may want to give them a hint about what type of word or phrase it is, like whether it’s a movie title, idiom or just a simple noun etc.

Now that you are ready to begin, flip a coin or select a team to go first. The first team spins the wheel and the pointer will land on a money value. Remember, if it lands on “bankrupt” then the team loses all of the their money and has to start from zero.

The team then selects a letter that they think will be in one of the blanks to complete the word or phrase. If they say a correct letter then they will receive money for every letter that is in the blanks. For instance, for the word “Phenomenon,” if the wheel lands on $100 and the team picks “N” as the letter, then they would receive $300 total.

The second team then spins and selects another letter. The game continues in this fashion until the word is solved.

After a series of rounds, declare one of the teams the winner and reward them with prizes with a ratio equivalent to the points they scored. If the winning team has $700, then you could give them 7 candies or whatever works for the age of your students.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

After the Wheel of Fortune ESL game, if time permits, you could have the class do a discussion activity related to any of the topics that were covered during the activity. Alternatively, you could also take some of the words or phrases that were created and incorporate them into the TV Guide Reading Activity.

View more ESL board games.

View more ESL activities.


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