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Write on Your Partner's Back
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Purpose: This activity improves spelling, especially of newly learned words.

Info: Write on Your Partner's Back gets students to spell words on a partner's back. The physical movement, writing in a different medium, and concentration greatly helps retention.


Step One: Students get into pairs. Each student receives a different list of five to ten words. These words should have been studied in previous steps of the lesson. However, if the teacher wishes to review important or difficult vocabulary from previous lessons, then he may do so too.

Step Two: Student A stands behind and faces the back of his partner. He selects a word from his list and, with his index finger, writes it on his partner's back. It's important that student A write each letter separately and slowly, and that he also uses the entire "writing space" of his partner. Student B won't be able to correctly guess the word if the letters are written too small or too quick.

Step Three: Student B guesses the word. If correct, the two students switch roles. If incorrect or he doesn't have guess at all, then student A rewrites the word. If student B again can't provide a guess, then student A should give the answer and spell the word.

Students continue through all the words until finished.

Variation One: Students stand in a line of four or five, much like a conga line. Each student faces the back of the person in front of him. The person at the back of the line writes letter by letter on the next person's back, who then writes letter by letter on the next person's back, and so on down the line. When the word gets to the front of the line, then the first student says the word aloud. If correct, then he moves to the back of the line and the whole process is repeated. If incorrect, then students receive one more try.

Variation Two: This variation is similar to Variation One, just with an element of competition. Each line of students represents a team competing with other teams for speed.

The students at the back of each line begin with the same word. When the teacher begins the activity, then each team writes letter by letter as quickly as possible on the back of the next person, who then writes on the back of the next person, etc. When the word reaches the front of the line, then the first student whispers it to the teacher. If correct, the team receives a point. If incorrect, they must try again. Only the first team with the correct answers scores a point. Longer or more difficult words may be worth more points, which further increase the competition.

The team with the most points at the end wins.