This activity practises vocabulary and spelling and can be good for restless classes.

Jo Budden


  • Put students into teams (no more than eight or so in each team) and get each team to line up facing the board.
  • The student at the front of each line needs chalk or a board pen. Show a word or a picture to all the students who are at the back of each line. Use a word you've studied in class that all the students should know.
  • The students at the back of the line should 'write' each letter of the word with their finger, on the back of the student in front of them in the line. That student then does the same on the back of the student who's in front of them in the line, and so on. Students should pause between letters, writing the next letter only when they can see that the student in front of them has already passed on the previous one.
  • The students at the front of the lines write the letters on the board to make the word. The first team with the word written correctly on the board wins.

A few words of warning with this activity; it's a good idea to start with short words and short lines of students as it can take a while to pass the letters down the line. Also, if your students aren't used to this type of 'touchy' activity, you may want to change the game to students whispering the letters rather than writing on backs.

First published 2008

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