For teachers: Playing with Long Words

Vicky Loras
Vicky Loras

Today’s post if by Vicky Loras, co-founder of The Loras English Network. Thank you, Vicky!

Playing with Long Words

I teach all ages and very often we have ten minutes to spare at the end of class, or we just need a change of pace, or just something to liven up the class! I love playing with vocabulary – no matter what age group or level I am teaching.

Here is my favourite:

The Long Word: this game was one of my favourites when I was a little girl. I was taught this game by my cousin’s wife, who worked for the Board of Education in Canada.

The idea is this: you choose a big word and the students create new words using the letters from that specific one. Some words you can use are encyclopedia, establishment, metamorphosis…anything with a lot of letters in it!

It is great when the students are the ones choosing the words. They come up with the greatest ideas! The teacher then gives them three minutes to find as many words as possible – the winner is the person with the most words – however, they have to be words that really exist!

The winner then reads the words s/he has found and everyone looks at their own, crossing out the ones they have too. If they have different ones that have not been mentioned, they read them out too.

This activity helps them:

Learn new items of vocabulary, as the initial long word is very often a word they have never encountered before.
Practise their spelling, as the new words they create need to be correct in their spelling – so even if they make mistakes, they then remember them for another time.
Teach each other vocabulary, as they read out their own words.
Use some of the new words to write a story.

They love this activity, young or older students – and they can learn a great deal from it! I hope your students enjoy it as well.


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