Author: Deb Bullock | Published on 2 February 2023 


 Read what a teacher says about this activity:

10 words is a fun team game that you can use to review and practise vocabulary and spelling. It’s a good activity to use at the start of the lesson to energise your learners. You can use it with any subject, not only English.

Stage 1: Prepare

Choose a topic from the textbook or curriculum that learners have studied, e.g. weather, furniture, sports, etc. You could also choose a general topic, e.g. things that are cold, things that make a noise, verbs about moving, etc.

Stage 2: Introduce

Say: “Let’s play a word game”. Write 10 words on the board.

Put learners in teams of 5 or 6. 

Say: “Choose a team writer. The writer needs a pen or a pencil.”

Check all teams have a writer with paper and a pen or pencil. Say: “Hands up team writers. Show me your paper and pen.”

Say: “I will write a topic on the board. Work together and write 10 words from the topic as fast as you can. When you have 10 words, shout: ‘Stop!’ Team writers must stop writing. I check the words and the spelling. If they are correct, you win. If they are not correct, I say ‘Play on’. 

Stage 3: Check instructions


  • “How many words do you write?” (= 10)
  • “What kind of words do you write?” (= the topic words)
  • “What do you do when you have 10 words?” (= shout ‘Stop!’ and stop writing)
  • “What if the 10 words are not correct?” (= play on until a team shouts ‘Stop!’)
  • “What if 2 teams shout ‘Stop!’ at the same time?” (= they both win)
  • Say: “Remember to write well so I can read it! And whisper so other teams don’t hear your words.”

Stage 4: Play the game

Say: “Let’s play. The topic is <…>” Write the topic on the board. Say: “Go!”

When a team shouts ‘Stop!’ say: “Pens down”.

Check the team’s words and spelling are correct. 

Clap the winners or play on until there is a winning team. The winning team should read out their words.


If learners can’t think of 10 words, ask for fewer words.

After the first team shouts ‘Stop!’ continue playing for 2nd place.   

Instead of teams shouting ‘Stop!’ give learners a time limit. The team with the most correct words wins.

Stage 5: Extend and share

Ask the teams who didn’t win: “Do you have any different words?” Ask each team to share 1 or 2 different words with the class. 

Tell teams to put away their papers. Give the class a spelling test on the topic words. 


Whisper: murmum