'When I go to the supermarket...' Memory Game

A quick, no prep, flexible memory game with competitive and non-competitive versions. Great for vocabulary review, memory training and practising new grammar patterns

  1. The basic form of this game is to start by staying 'When I go to the supermarket, I buy...', with each new person repeating what came before and adding their own item. Before class, I check what grammar the students are currently practising and try to fit the game to that if I can. For example, I have used it to practise present perfect tense 'I have been to...'

  2. First, model your chosen starter sentence with your JTE. Start with 'When I go to the supermarket, I buy (apples). How about you?' and the JTE replies with 'When I go to the supermarket, I buy (apples and eggs). Repeat this for 3 or 4 things, maybe throwing in something silly like 'an airplane' if the kids are looking a bit sleepy.

  3. Split the class into large groups. I typically use 3 groups of 8-10 students with the desks in a conveyor sushi style. Then, ask the student on the front right of each group to stand up and say they will start, then the game continues in a clockwise direction. I like to ask the students to stand when they are giving their answers so it is easy to tell where they're at. I also remind them not to make notes, since this is just for fun, and not to repeat items.

  4. There are several ways you can choose to run from this point. I typically either set a 5 minute timer or say stop after everyone has said 2 things.
    I choose not to make this a competition, so there are no penalties for forgetting an item, and I don't mind if other students try to help their friends to remember. However, if you want to play it how its typically played, you are out if you repeat, skip or forget an item, and the winner is the last person who then repeats the whole list of items.

Submitted by phoebefay April 27, 2023 Estimated time: 5-10 minutes
  1. HTemple May 25, 2023

    I really like this game idea for this grammar. My teacher always asks for these games that are 10 minutes or less. About how many students in, do people start making mistakes usually? I'm thinking about making groups of 4 or 3 students, having everyone stand up and going until 1 person is left standing per team. Then play amongst those winners. I have no idea how long it might take to whittle down to one person though. Any idea? That might end up taking like 20 minutes... I really want to try making smaller groups though, to try and give students more chances to speak.

  2. jiggswalsh June 12, 2023

    @HTemple I did the competitive version of this activity for "I think that,..." 2nd grade JHS in teams of 3 or 4. All students stood up and if they made a mistake or took 10 seconds (I recommend 5 seconds if you want it to go quickly) to answer they were out and sat down. It depends on the class but it took about 3-6 minutes for each team of 3 or 4 to decide a winner. One class was really good at it and none of the teams got an overall winner in the time I had allocated in class! Regarding how many students in were the mistakes, it depends on the class but around 4-5+ I think. I think the difficult part would be keeping the students who lost engaged in a longer find-one-winner activity.

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