The object of the game is for students to talk for sixty seconds on a given subject, "without repetition, hesitation or deviation"
Group Size: Any (4-6 recommended with a high level speaker & listener as the captain in groups >5 the captain does not speak or interject but picks the challenger based on who put their hand up/buzzed first)
Time: This game can take 3 minutes to explain the rules and 2-60 minutes to play ( total minimum 5 minutes, maximum 65minutes - we recommend you do not exceed 30 minutes (in KS2) as it will loose it's energy,
Curriculum links: pupils are taught to:
- listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and
- build vocabulary
- articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
- give well-structured descriptions and explanations
- maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
- use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
- participate in discussions, presentations, performances and debates
- gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
- consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
- select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.
The groups of students are challenged to speak for one minute on a given subject (which they are not able to prepare for in advance) without "repetition, hesitation, or deviation". You can develop these topics yourself or download the Just a Minute pack from our resources area.
Example topics: "My dream holiday" "If we met aliens" "The importance of class rules"
The basic rules are quite straightforward:
"Repetition" means the repetition of any word or phrase, although challenges based upon very common words such as "and" are generally rejected except if playing by the hard rules. Words contained in the given subject are exempt unless repeated many times in quick succession. The term "BBC" can be successfully challenged for repetition of "B".
Skilful players use synonyms in order to avoid repeating themselves.
"Hesitation" a momentary pause before resumption of the subject can give rise to a successful challenge, as can tripping over one's words. You can decide as a group how lenient to be at first. Um, er and other pausing words are also challenged.
"Deviation" means deviating from the subject, but has also been interpreted as "deviating from the English language as we know it", "deviation from grammar as we understand it", deviating from the truth, and deviation from logic, although leaps into the surreal are often allowed.
A student scores a point for making a correct challenge against whomever is speaking, while the speaker gets a point if the challenge is deemed incorrect.
A student who makes a correct challenge takes over the subject for the remainder of the minute, or until he or she is correctly challenged. The person speaking when the 60 seconds expires also scores a point.
If a witty or good fact interjection amuses the group, class or you, even though it is not a correct challenge, both the challenger and speaker may gain a point, at the teachers discretion.
An extra point is awarded when a student speaks for the entire minute without being challenged. It is unusual for a student to speak within the three cardinal rules for any substantial length of time, whilst remaining coherent. Therefore, to speak for the full minute without being challenged is a special achievement. (If playing the game on Easy the round time should be 30 seconds)
You can make the game harder by adding extra rules like: a ban on the word "is" might apply in a round, for example.
EASY:  30 seconds |  allow common phrases like: and, also |  groups of <6 with captains and adults |  no hesitation over 5 seconds (um or er) |  small deviation allowed.
AVERAGE:  60 seconds |  no repeats |  groups of <6 with captains and adults |  no hesitation over 3 seconds |  deviation as in rules above.
HARD:  60+ seconds |  no repeats |  groups of <4 with captains (teachers if needed) |  no hesitation over 1 (full) second |  deviation as in rules above. |  added rules e.g. 'banned words' (is).
Below is an example of a speech given by Sheila Hancock ("Episode 633". Just a Minute. Season 50. 2005-07-25.) which lasted for a full minute without being challenged. The subject was "How to win an argument".