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Vocabulary Building Activity – Last Man Standing

vocabulary building activityFun Vocabulary Building Game for Language Classrooms

This vocabulary building activity is a game that is a little different to my other vocabulary games for the language classroom! The difference being that it has students standing up in a circle to begin with.

Although this vocabulary game is supposed to be played at a fast pace, it does allow for a moment of thinking-time. In addition, it lends itself well for students to learn vocabulary and pick up on pronunciation from their peers.

last man standing vocabulary building gameLAST MAN STANDING – VOCABULARY ACTIVITY 

Vocabulary Activity Resources Required:
Soft ball or your choice of plush toy
When To Use:
Anytime. But works well as a starter or plenary. You can also use it to assess prior knowledge, practise vocabulary during a topic, as well as at the end as a revision activity.
1. Put students in a circle and name a topic, such as: jobs, school, adjectives etc
2.  Immediately say a student’s name and throw the ball at them – they answer as they catch
3. If correct, they continue standing. If incorrect, they must sit down for the remainder, noting down next words mentioned.
4. Students continue throwing to each other and answering until there is the ‘last man standing’ 



Instead of keeping the same theme for the whole game, each student gives the following student a different theme. i.e, you may begin with: “something green”. The first learner to catch the ball could say “grape” and then change the topic to: “a verb beginning with ‘L’ etc and then throw the ball to the next student. This makes the game easier, because the whole game isn’t on just one topic. However, it equally makes the game more difficult, as students don’t have the opportunity to think of a word until just before their turn comes around.

EXTENSION: Get students to put their words into sentences and set a grammar challenge for those who like to push themselves, such as present tense / future tense / passive / third person singular etc.

It’s a no-prep vocabulary building activity and extremely effective in developing and revising topic-related vocabulary! It’s also an excellent method to check pronunciation too. Incorporate it into your language lessons as a starter, or as a revision aid.

If you liked this vocabulary activity, then please feel free to check out my vocabulary activities for the language classroom post, which has so many more great vocabulary ideas for quick wins when it comes to checking prior knowledge. These vocabulary building activities are challenges that will get words flowing in your classroom!

Please note: whilst I realise that teaching words separately from connected speech isn’t always the best pedagogical move, it is still useful for pair-work, team-work, as well as to develop spelling and pronunciation. So, I do recommend them.

Did you like this vocabulary builder? Read some more vocabulary learning related posts below:

Emojis Vocabulary Builder
10 Fun Activities To Teach Vocabulary In Your Classroom

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