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New Vocabulary Race

There are lots of ways to build vocabulary that involve self-study, but you can also play some fun games in class to help your students learn new words.

Students enjoy being a little competitive sometimes, so this can be a good motivator for them. A good fast-paced game can also bring a lot of energy into your classes.

Here is a good activity that includes a time limit and some light competition to make it especially fun for your students. Plan to use this activity at the end of class because it is high-energy and your students may be too excited to continue with quieter activities later.

Use this game for specific vocabulary. It is very flexible, so let’s use the example of human rights vocabulary.

  1. Have your students take out a piece of scrap paper. Tell them they will all have one minute to write down all the vocabulary words they can. You will give them specific topics.
  2. If you have a large unit, break it up into smaller lists or parts of speech (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.). This will let the game continue longer.
  3. After the minute is finished, the students will read their words. If someone else has the same word, they must cross it off their list.
  4. The students get one point for every unique word on their list (words that no one else put on their lists).
For example, if one student has the word “ignorance” or “vote” on their human rights list and no one else does, he or she gets one point for each word. Have the students add up their points at the end of the activity to see who wins!

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