Nothing like having visitors the first day back from vacation! And what does an insane teacher do? Make up an activity on the spot! Well, at least my observers got to see my classes as they truly are!
I had been thinking about a post in the iFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching FB group from AnneMarie Chase about a game she played in which students were divided into teams, and they had to make sure that each person on the team understood the reading. Then one person from each team had to answer a question. (She had them come sit in the front of the room.) If they got it correct, they drew a card from a deck of cards, and the corresponding value was the number of points the team received.
I printed this post out a loooooong time ago, but haven't done anything with it. I had been looking at it just before my visitors entered my room.
My sixth graders were doing one final reading activity with Dustin Williamson's Noël Madness commercials. All of a sudden, I had an idea. I collected the readings and wrote two things on the board: Migros and Argos (these were the two commercials that went head-to-head in the final round of voting). I read a sentence, and students had to write down on their individual whiteboards the commercial to which it pertained. They had five seconds to write it down, and then they held it up. I then randomly chose (using the random number generator app on my phone) the name of a student. If that student's team had gotten the answer correct, I gave them a die to roll. That became the number of points I awarded the team.
In the first class, it got a little bogged down. I had only distributed one die, and I had to collect it and pass it around each time a team needed to roll. That took up too much time. Additionally, this is a class that doesn't have a ton of energy, anyway. When I played it with the second class, I gave each team a die; that allowed the point determining to go much more quickly. The students were also much more engaged, which added to the enjoyment. Because I just threw this together last minute, I did not have the chairs set up in the front of the room like AnneMarie did. But I'm eager to try that next time.
I'm pretty excited about this. I loved Anne Marie's idea of the points being completely random. I can see how a deck of cards might make it more interesting, since point values would vary so much. The dice made it so the scores were close, which heightened the anticipation. I'll try to play again soon, and post a video.
Let me know if you try this, or if you come up with some other modifications!
Allison Litten, the 2019 VFLA TOY, teaches French at the Marion Cross School, a public K-6 school in Norwich, Vermont. This year she is teaching kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 4, and 6.