Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
junior high school first year & second year To build students' confidence in their writing skills, and develop their vocab through a 'brainstorm'-type activity. Speaking skills can also be targeted. none 10 mins Chalk, a blackboard, and students.

This game needs little explanation, as most students already know its Japanese form. Surprisingly few teachers ever think of using it, so its suggestion as a time filler at the end of a lesson may come as a pleasant, even welcome, surprise to them. The rules are simple: start by writing any English word on the board. The next student must then write a new word using the last letter of the previous word. Each new contestant must write a new word beginning with the last letter of the previous word until the umpire (YOU) calls "time".

There are many ways to play the game, but the best way may be for each row to work as a team and have the teams compete in relay fashion. The baton is a piece of chalk, which is passed from one student to the next after each has written their word. Divide the board into 5, 6 or 7 (depending on classroom layout and student attendance) sections, and write the name of each team at the top of each. The students must run to their section (one from each team at a time), write an appropriate word, and then run back and pass the chalk to the next person in the row. This continues, with the last person passing the chalk to the first person and the 1st to the 2nd etc., until the referee calls "time over", and then scores each team. Award 1 point for every three letters of a word, e.g., 'grandfathers' scores 4 points. Incorrect spelling or abbreviations (USA is not a word) score zero. The team with the most points wins. Play two rounds and merge scores. Students can use their texts or dictionaries for reference, but may not take them to the board with them. Team members calling directions in English is not just permitted, but should be encouraged, as it's good listening and speaking practice.

See also Sentence Shiritori

Teaching Tip

Hold a lottery at each school you visit, or once every two months if you attend a base school. While we couldn't advocate photocopying your country's money and covering the serial numbers with tags saying things like 'one lottery ticket', 'Name' and 'Class', this is what some ALTs have actually done! Hearsay suggests that they even covered the featured faces with a picture of their own. However you make your tickets, hand them out to students who have done a good job, made a special effort, or won a competition (or relay). Have a lottery box on your desk where students can place their tickets. Give small prizes like stick-pins, key rings, and have a 'Grand prize' such as a T-shirt from your country. This is a marvelous motivation device.

View this page without frames (good for editing or printing)

Complete index ... without frames

Introduction (frames)