Spelling doesn’t have to mean Test


UPDATE: Very pleased to announce that this post won the British Council’s Blog of the Month Award for May.

Are bureaucrats dangerous?

I want to tell you about how I adapted my advanced students’ favourite spelling activity for lower levels –all the way down to beginner.  The original activity called Three in a Row is available free on Johanna Stirling’s spelling blog here.  The original version can be challenging – even for teachers. Just try thinking of ‘something dangerous’ with the spelling ‘eau.’  But the activity itself is great, which is why I created the lower level version.


Lower Level  ‘Three in a Row’

Time   45 minutes


  • The board with spelling topics is here. You’ll need 1 per four-six students. I recommend laminating them.
  • You will need 1 coloured pen and paper or a mini-whiteboard per team of 2.
  • For pre-intermediate students you can add vowel dice or cards.

Play   (these rules were created by my students)

  • Students play in teams of two or three with two teams per board.
  • One team chooses a topic square and then the other team chooses a word related to the topic.
  • Both teams try to spell the word without looking at each others’ paper.
  • The team which spells the word correctly wins the square and places a cross in the square. A draw means no one wins.
  • When a team gets three in a row they score 1 point.

*For pre-intermediate students you can add vowel dice to make it more challenging. The word they choose must also contain the vowel thrown.

*I have also played with three teams per board –just add an extra coloured pen.


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