Number one for English language teachers

Team games: 'Seven letters', 'Winner takes all' and 'Talk about it'

Level: Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra

Three short team activities.

These have all been well tried with teenagers and young adults and work best at intermediate+ levels when you begin a new topic or unit.

Seven letters

Arrange the students into pairs or small groups of three - four. Tell them first to choose seven letters of the alphabet. Write the letters on the board and then reveal the topic.

E.g. topic - travel and tourism

One group might choose the following letters - A, E, C, F, M, G, V.

Give them now one - two minutes to come up with words that belong to the topic and begin with the chosen letters. For each letter they should try to think of one word only (or as many words as possible with more advanced classes). When the time has passed, check their words, reward one point for each correct and relevant word and then write the words on the board next to each group's letters.

Eg.

A - adventure
E -
C - customs officers
F - ferry
M - motel
G -
V - visa

They should then write a short story about the topic in which they must try to use all their words. The more words they use the more points they will get - one point for each correctly used word. Set a time limit of no more then 5-10 minutes for this task.

Example story:

We arrived at the port in good time to catch the FERRY. Unfortunately, the sea was rough and we had a terrible crossing and were all seasick. When we finally arrived at Dover, CUSTOMS OFFICERS meticulously searched our luggage and immigration officers spent ages checking our VISAS. It wasn't until after midnight when we finally reached our MOTEL and were able to call our families back at home and tell them about our ADVENTURE. (5 points)

Each group takes it in turns to read out their story. The teacher counts the points and announces the winners.

Winner takes all

  • Before the lesson, think of a word. The word should somehow denote the topic, be long, and as far as possible contain different letters.

E.g.
education or homework  - topic: education

avenues  - topic: describing a city

  • Write the letters of the word in a vertical line on the board, like in the example below.

Eg. education

 

E -
D -
U -
C -
A -
T -
I -
O -
N -

  • Divide the students into pairs or small groups and tell them that they will have five minutes to come up with as many words as possible that belong to the topic and begin with the letters of the word. After five minutes they should stop writing and count how many words they have for each of the letters.
  • Because in this game 'the winner takes it all', ask the group with the largest number of words for the first letter to tell you what words they have:
  • If they say that they have, say, five words beginning with 'E' and all of them are correct and relevant (in case of doubt ask them to explain their relevance to the topic), they are the winners and receive one point for the letter 'E'.
  • If a group claims to have five words and, after checking, it turns out that only, say, three words are correct, ask another group with more than three words. If all their words are correct, they are the winners.
  • If there are more groups than one with the same largest number of points, each of them receives one point.
  • The winners for each of the letters always receive only one point regardless of how many words they have.

At the end count all the points, announce and reward the overall winner(s).
 

Talk about it

  • This game works best when you begin a new topic e.g. environment, travel and tourism etc.
  • Students should be in small groups or pairs. Each group/ pair chooses a letter of the alphabet and thinks of a word (noun) that begins with the letter and belongs to the topic or category.

Eg.

topic - environment

Group 1 - letter-'p' - plants

Group 2- letter-'a' - animals

etc.

  • They must now prepare themselves to be able to talk about their word (e.g. 'plants') for two minutes.
  • If they speak in a coherent and logical way without any hesitations and repetitions for two minutes they can get max. 5 points. 0.5 points are taken away for any hesitation or repetition.
  • If they cannot say anything sensible and /or talk for less than two minutes, they do not score any points.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Thanks Christine. Glad we could be of help!

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  • thanks! great exercises as starters or warmers

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