Generate comprehensible input and provide opportunities for output from a traditional vocabulary-review game that is played with a partner! This activity makes for a great sub plan component, even when your sub doesn’t speak the target language.
PREPARE THE WORD RACE STORY WORKSHEET
To get started, download the game template here!
Once you’ve got the template, grab the text from an existing story or –yes – even a word list. Pop it into a Word Cloud Generator (I use this one because it gives me a high level of control, but this one is a bit more user friendly).
PRO TIP: For structures that consist of more than one word, insert a tilde (~) between each word to stick them together (está~nervioso).
Technology not your friend? You can totally hand-write the words on a page! I typically use www.wordle.net to generate my word clouds.
Use a full-page word cloud OR pop it into the template (download here!) so that the word cloud is at the top of the page and the bottom half contains numbered lines. You’ll want each of your students to have their own copy.
PLAY WORD RACE
Distribute one word cloud and a highlighter or colored writing utensil (marker, crayon, colored pencil) to every student. Make sure that the two students in each pair have a different colored writing utensil.
In Round One, each pair uses Partner A’s paper. Partner A should place it between them and their partner, and Partner B sets aside his/her paper for now.
The teacher calls out one term at a time in English.
When they hear the word in English, the two partners race to be the first one to cross out or highlight that term on the paper. Whichever student marks the correct term first receives 1 point. If a student marks the wrong term, he or she loses one point. (In this way, it’s similar to Pencil Grab.)
Continue game play until many terms have been crossed out; but not necessarily all of them.
Partner A now sets aside the first paper, and Partner B pulls out his or hers. Play Round Two exactly like Round One!
The winner is the student with the most points at the end of both rounds.
TAKE WORD RACES TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH GROUP STORIES
Time to use the bottom half of the template!
STEP ONE: START A STORY
Using words from the word cloud, each student should FILL UP the first line on the bottom half of the paper with the beginning of a story. It could be a familiar story or an original story; you decide. Each student might write one sentence; maybe two….whatever it takes to fill up the line. (You can decide for yourself whether it’s okay if they try to write big so that they don’t have to write as much.)
If you did not work from the template that contains the word cloud and lines on the same piece of paper, just have students fill up the first line on a lined piece of notebook paper. No problem!
STEP TWO: PASS THE STORY
Have the students pass their paper clockwise.
STEP THREE: CONTINUE THE STORY
The next student must continue the story by filling up the second line with whatever happens next. It should make sense and go with the first line!
STEP FOUR: REPEAT!
Then, the second student passes the paper clockwise to the third person. Keep passing until all eight lines are filled, then return the paper to the original owner.
If time remains, the original “owner” of the paper should re-write the story on a piece of lined paper, correcting and embellishing it to the best of his/her ability.
Collect all papers before the kids leave!!
KEEP THE STORIES GOING!
Type up several of the better stories that came out of the activity. Project them or photocopy them and distribute them to the class. Students can…
- Read them with teacher guidance, using comprehension based strategies like circling, checking for comprehension, and personalization (see this page for information about those strategies)
- Translate the stories into English
- Re-write them from another perspective or in another tense (horizontal conjugation).
- Expand them by adding one word or detail to each sentence, an additional sentence between each sentence…anything!