Read what a teacher says about this activity:
‘I use Writing race at the end of every week to review learning. Sometimes I use it after reading, too, to check learners understand the text. It’s good because learners have to listen and think about spelling and punctuation. Learners love it because it’s a team race and they win points.’
Stage 1: Prepare
Choose a topic or language from the textbook or curriculum that learners have studied, e.g. months of the year, present simple, everyday phrases. Make a list of 6–8 questions and answers, e.g. Which month is after May?
Stage 2: Introduce
Say: ‘Let’s play a writing game.’
Put learners in teams of six. Check all teams have a paper and pen.
Say: ‘Number yourselves 1–6.’ Check each player knows their number. Say: ‘All 1s raise your hands; all 2s raise your hands, etc.’
Say: ‘I will say a number, e.g. number 3. Player 3 should take the pen. I will ask a question. Work together but player 3 should write the answer. Give the answer to me. The first team to give me the correct answer wins two points; other correct teams win one point.’
Stage 3: Model
Say: ‘Let’s try. Ready? Player 2.’ (Check 2s have pens ready.)
Ask: ‘What day is it today?’ Take the first team’s paper. Check the answer, spelling and punctuation is correct, e.g. Wednesday.
If it’s correct, say: ‘Well done. Two points.’ Player 2 reads the answer to the class. Check other team answers. If they are correct, give one point. Write the points on the paper.
If something is incorrect, say: ‘Something’s wrong.’ Check the second team’s answer. Repeat until there is a winning team.
Stage 4: Play the game
Say: ‘Let’s play.’ Say the player number, ask the question. Check the first team’s answer. Write the points on the papers.
Repeat so that all six players have a turn.
Check which team has the most points. Clap the winners.
- The teams should write full sentences, e.g. June is after May.
- The teacher gives the answer; teams write the question, e.g. I’m fine, thanks. = How are you?
- The teacher reads an incorrect sentence; teams write the correct sentence, e.g. He don’t like swimming. = He doesn’t like swimming.
- Focus on punctuation: dictate a sentence, e.g. He said, ‘What are you doing?’
- Focus on reading comprehension: ask questions about a text to check understanding.
Stage 5: Extend and share
If teams wrote answers to questions, ask them to write the questions.
If teams wrote questions, ask them to write the answers.
Monitor, support and correct.
With time, you will find new ways to use Writing race with your learners to review and practise different language and skills.