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Word Race

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This is a spelling game I learnt when I was at school back in NZ.

Divide the class into two teams (or three if the class is large). Draw a long grid on the board - height equal to the amount of teams (two or three squares) and a length of about 30 or 40 squares (or more if you have an advanced class). Number one row for each team or get them to choose their own team names.

The idea is for teams to take turns in nominating a word and spelling it. If the word is spelled correctly the teacher writes the word into that teams row - one letter per square. If the word in spelt incorrectly the team misses their turn. The first team to fill their row to the end wins.

Variations and advice you may or may not want to use:
I don't allow names, numbers or 'wall words' (words on the classroom wall on posters and such).

I usually don't allow students to tack an 's' on the end of a word - 'apple' is OK, but not 'apples' (in my opinion this is artificially elongating the word).

You will discover that some words will become 'game standards' in a class ie. the same word is used time after time. When this happens the word is banned.

Obviously once a word is used it becomes unavailable for the rest of the game.

I prefer to have the teams finish their row with the exact amount of letters. ie. if there is five spaces left in the row, a five letter word must be used to finish.

The game is more challenging if you incorporate the Last Letter Game - the last letter of the previous word becomes the first of the next. It makes the students plan ahead and choose their words carefully.

Some students will learn how to spell long words in their own time to be more competitive. I've had words like 'extrasensory', 'nauseating' and 'internationalisation' (or internationalization if you can't spell properly ;). This is great, but I make sure the kids actually know what the word means before allowing its use.

Have fun!!

Aaron Raisey
Jinju, South Korea
gilgamesh@paradise.net.nz

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