Tried and tested (and approved!) games and activities to help English learning.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Level: Intermediate and Advanced.

Skills: writing (some speaking).

Topic: vocabulary.

Materials: pencil and paper.

Time: 20 to 30 minutes (sometimes longer).

This game is a variation of Animal, Country, Job..., which I have already described. A word of about six letters is chosen, either at random or (more preferably) from the pages of a book (you could select a word to the topic you are going to start talking about, as a lead-in, for example), but it should contain no letter more than once. I usually pick up a word which is the kernel of the topic students are going to see (tourism, leisure, working, country, school, etc.).

Students suggest a category (animals, towns, objects, book titles, etc.) and write them down the left-hand side of their paper. If your class has more than eight students, have them agree on a number of categories. Then, and only then, present the letters of the chosen word, making them writing it along the top of their grid. Next, they try, for each category, to write words that start with the letters of the chosen word (on top). Here, it is not a matter of who finishes first, but who completes the most columns with right words. A time limit is set, and a student scores two points for each word that no other student has written (or, if preferred, one point for each of the players who has not written that word). Misspelled and utterly wrong words suffer a one point penalty.

Variation: For each category students think of an appropriate item that begins with the letter at the top of the column. Then they think of an item from that category that ends with the letter at the top of the column.

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