Topic: vocabulary, spelling.
Materials: pencil, paper.
Time: 5 to 10 minutes.
Write up a selection of about ten disconnected letters, scattered on the board, and ask students to use them to make words. Each letter may be used only once in each word. Make sure there are two or three vowels among them!
Students might suggest words directly to you to be written up immediately, or spend two or three minutes thinking of (and writing) suggestions. It's a good idea to aim to reach a certain number of words: 20, say, or more (depending on the students' level).
If you prefer to use long words as the source for eliciting short ones, then some possible words are: international, dictionary, systematic, beautiful, democratic, agriculture, unbelievable, transformation, archaelogy.
Give only six or seven letters, but allow students to use letters more than once in a single word.
At the beginning, invite students to suggest the letters. Just make sure that these include vowels!
Give the students two to three minutes to think of words. Then they come together in groups or the full class, sharing their lists. Any words that more than one student has thought of are crossed out. Who has the longest list of 'unique' words?