I’m ALL about activities that require basically nothing in the way of materials or preparation time. It’s ideal to have at least a few of them in your back pocket to pull out in case of emergency, namely a last minute class thrown at you a few minutes before it starts. This ESL spelling game is one such example.
Spelling, I know. In the days of auto-correct on all our computers, do our students really need to practice this? I would certainly argue that they do. There are many cases where students have to write in English without the aid of a computer or cellphone. For example, in the written portions of English proficiency tests. It’s for this reason that I like to practice spelling in my ESL/EFL classes.
Word Challenge ESL Spelling Game
Time: 10 minutes
Spelling is an oft-neglected skill in many ESL classrooms. However, it actually is quite important and worth spending some class time on. If you want to work on spelling with your students, try out this fun game. It’s also ideal for working on listening skills.
The way it works is that you divide the class up into two teams. One student from each team comes to the whiteboard and is given a marker.
Say a word and the two students have to race to spell it correctly. The first student to do this gets a point for their team. Continue with different words until all students have had a chance to play.
If you have a minute or two, make a list of words beforehand. If you’re using an ESL textbook, flip back to the units you’ve covered and it’ll take no time at all. Or, you can think of words off the top of your head. For beginners, things like numbers, animals, colors, days of the week or months of the year work well.
Procedure for ESL Spelling Practice:
- Divide the class into two teams.
- One student from each team comes up to the whiteboard and takes a marker.
- Say a word and each student has to write it on the board. The first student to do it correctly gets a point for their team.
- Continue until each student has had a chance to play 1-2 times.
Teaching Tips for Word Challenge
This ESL spelling game works better for smaller classes of 12 students or fewer because only two students are doing anything at any given time. More than that and it’s just not enough action for the majority of the class.
However, if you have lots of whiteboard space, you could consider playing with larger classes. Instead of having only two students write on the board, you could have 3 or 4.
Another factor to consider is whether or not you’ll allow students’ teammates to help them. In reality, it sometimes doesn’t help that much because if a student knows a word, they’ll write it in just a few seconds. It also creates some chaos. However, for small classes, it’s usually not a big issue.
Here are some more ESL spelling games to try out:
Did you Like this ESL Spelling Game?
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- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 68 Pages - 11/12/2019 (Publication Date)
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The book is available in both digital and print formats. Consider keeping a physical copy with your attendance sheets and lesson plans if you regularly have to go into the classroom without having time to prepare. Or, download the e-version on your phone for the same purpose.
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Have your Say about Word Challenge
What do you think about this ESL spelling activity that you can do with your students? Did you try it out in class? Leave a comment below and let us know how it went. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API