Heads Up App-Styled Review Game

I am the freshman speech coach at my school, and each year the students who make it to the state level take an overnight trip.  This year on the way to the competition site, the students played a game on their phones called Heads Up.  The whole point to the game is to guess the word on the screen using hints from others (who aren’t allowed to say the word). Here’s how it works:

– someone installs the app on their smart phones (quite possibly only available on iPhones – not sure!)

– someone holds the phone to their forehead, with the screen facing the group

– a word pops up on the screen (you can choose from categories or a mix)

– the group tries to get the person with the phone to say the word, but the group cannot actually say the word or act it out

– if the person guessing gets it right, that person flips the phone upwards

– if the person cannot guess the word, that person flips the phone downwards

– a new word appears until the time is up

Here is a picture that sums it up well from the Heads Up explanation through iTunes:


We just finished reading Chapter 10 of Esperanza yesterday, and I didn’t want to begin our end of the novel projects (today is our last day before our spring break). So instead I thought we could review the book. My initial thought was to make a Jeopardy-styled review, but to be quite truthful I didn’t want to have to put a lot of work into creating – heck it is the day before spring break!  Suddenly it hit me –  play a non-techy version of Heads Up!  I created cards based on characters, places, and important terms using flashcards and these replaced the phone.  If students were able to guess the word, they put it on the right because they were right, and on the left if they couldn’t guess it.  My first group made a competition out of it, while other classes wanted to played together as a class.

Some observations/notes:

– On the Heads Up app you can actually pay to make your own cards to use on your phone, but you do have to pay I’ve been told.

– My first instinct was to have my best and brightest be the guesser, but I quickly found out it was better to have them be a part of the group giving clues.

– When competing in groups, I gave students 2 minutes on a timer and they had about 15 possible words.

– Students with strong speaking skills really flourished regardless of competition style or when the whole class participated.

– Bashful students were encouraged to speak more when the class was broken up into teams because there were so few of them that they had to help out.

– On a personal note, I discovered I haven’t done the best job of teaching the word LUGAR (place) or SITIO (site).  Yikes!

– Students actually asked to play again when we had a few free minutes at the end of class! Teaching win!

3 thoughts on “Heads Up App-Styled Review Game

  1. LOVE this! It’s sort of like a reverse of the game Taboo. What a great way to practice circumlocution! I’m going to try this now that my 7th graders know how to use circumlocution. I may have to think of ways to modify it a bit since they have limited vocabulary.

    • I’m so glad to hear this! My 8th graders were the ones that REALLY liked this game, so I can only imagine that your 7th graders will get excited for it.

      I’m usually horrible inept at boardgames and things of that nature so I’ll have to look up Taboo now to see if I might use that as well!

  2. I absolutely love this idea! I am currently in school to become a Spanish teacher, and one of my favorite things before coming to college was playing new review games in Spanish. It made class exciting and it was definitely a new and interesting way to review and even further learn the content. I love how you incorporated a noneducational game into the classroom. I’ll have to keep this in mind for the future!

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