Sink or swim

Ages 11 to 18

My pupils of all ages love playing battleships and I use the game to revise and practise vocabulary, phrases and grammar constructions.

Pupils draw a table with four boxes after recapping the new information I want to go over by brainstorming.

Each box is numbered in the corner, one to four. Pupils then select four items from the board and write them one per box. This is done in secret.

Then on the board we recap how to play. We write up the target language for numbers one to four, yes and no and sunk and won (gesunkennoye, gewonnengagne). Pupils take it in turns to guess an item.

If they guess the item correctly in the target language then they get to guess the box it is hidden in. This game gets pupils practising lots of target language quickly.

I even use it with A-level groups if I want to familiarise them with topic specific vocabulary quickly.

With older or more able groups we increase the number of battleships (boxes) and use different numbers.

This game is brilliant as a lesson starter, filler or as a fun change of activity.

It is also possible to use it in other subjects: chemistry for chemical symbols, history for dates and so on.

I have had classes set up leagues tables for the best players and everyone always cheers when I write the title battleships on the board Ideal for lists of vocabulary are the Malvern Guides.Lindsay Slack teaches modern languages at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Wakefield

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