Name of Game:

Back Writing

Target Students:

Young Learners

Elementary School

Middle School

High School


5 minutes

Number of Students:

At least 3

English Skills:


English Skills:





Practice spelling words by writing them on the backs of other students


Instructions for younger students:

  1. Have students sit in a circle for a smaller class or make team lines for a larger class
  2. Choose a letter or word from current study and have children trace it in the air together
  3. Next, have students trace the letter onto the back of the person in front of them
  4. Observe the students and correct where necessary
  5. Repeat using new letters
  6. Use words or sentences for higher levels


Instructions for older students:

  1. Have students sit in team lines
  2. Teach these actions: tap own shoulder for ‘repeat’ and nod for ‘OK, I understood’
  3. Agree on using capital or lower-case letters, or a combination for names, etc.
  4. Show different word card to last person in each group
  5. Students
    pass the message to the front of the line by tracing the message (word
    or sentence) of the word card on the back of the person in front of them
  6. When the messages reaches the first person in line, they write it on a piece of paper
  7. When the round is finished have the first person go to the end of the line to change writers


The tickling sensation gets the students laughing and engages them
deeper than spelling in the air so this would be a good ESL/EFL game to
play after warming up with Air Spelling.

For older students, points can be awarded for speed or accuracy depending on the complexity
of the message. Having students write on each other’s back is a good
way to stimulate the sense of touch in the lesson and further engages
the student. Longer lines make the game harder but shorter lines allows
for more opportunity to have everyone be the writer.

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