My brilliant idea - On the runway

Chris Williams

Languages - Ages 11-14

Reinforcing vocabulary in language learning can be a challenge. The most popular activity for my pupils is known simply as "the running up game", which I have used in Latin and in MFL classes at all levels.

The class is divided into two teams and each member gets a number. The two with the same number are opponents.

I call a word in English and wait a few seconds so that everyone has a chance to recall that word in the target language.

I then call out a number, and the two pupils with that number run to the board, pick up the team's pen, and write the word in the target language. The winner of each round is the person who writes the word correctly in the fastest time. The score is kept for each team by the designated board person and the pace is fast and furious.

If the teacher manages time well, it is possible to revise the spelling of dozens of words in a few minutes.

Ensure there are no hazards to trip up the runners and keep discipline tight. You will find, as I do, that the first question asked by my classes as they arrive is: "Can we play running up game today?"

Chris Williams teaches languages at Beeston Hall School in Cromer, Norfolk.

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