06 May 2016

Using Games to Spice Up Your ELA Curriculum!

Use GAMES to keep MIDDLE SCHOOLERS excited about and engaged in learning!

A few weeks ago, I posted about how I jazzed up worksheets to make grammar practice more fun!  This time, I want to tell you about some games I use to keep kids engaged and excited about learning! Here are my Top 10 games to play in the ELA Middle School Classroom!

1. Kahoot

If you don't know about Kahoot yet, click on the link to check it out!  Kahoot is an awesome interactive quizzing game that kids absolutely LOVE!  Every student needs an iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android device, or computer to play.  The teacher can create their own "Kahoot", or choose from the millions of ready-made Kahoots on the site.  The teacher logs in under their own ID and projects their view, then kids log in using a game pin.  Kahoot takes it from there!  Questions are flashed on the projection and kids use their device to answer a multiple choice question.  Kids can then see who is winning, and you can see how many kids answered correctly or incorrectly!  You can even download the data!  Talk about a great formative assessment tool!  This is the PERFECT game for 1:1 technology schools!

2. Quizlet

I love Quizlet for a bunch of reasons! It is super adaptable!  Teachers or students can create flashcards to review vocabulary terms, or just about anything!  There are also tons of ready-made Quizlets out there to choose from!  Once you have a Quizlet set created, students can practice on their own devices in many ways: matching games, races, etc.  I love using Quizlet to play games in the classroom, like the old favorite "around the world", or Trashketball (see #3).  The benefit to Quizlet is that when used in the classroom, students don't need their own devices.

3. Trashketball

There are many versions of Trashketball, but my version is really simple and really effective.  I create a Quizlet, then I describe the rules to Trashketball which applies to any Quizlet set.
1. Break the class into teams. (3 usually works best)
2. Each team takes turns answering a question.  
Students on the team take turns individually.  
If the student answers correctly, they earn 2 points.  
If they need to ask the other team members for help and then answer correctly, they get 1 point.
3.If the team gets the question right, they shoot an extra point basket.
I use a garbage can and a foam ball.  
If the student who answered can make the basket, they get to add a point to their team score.

4. Minute to Win It

This is an absolute FAVORITE of my students!  I do this a few times a year to keep the novelty.  I use my task card sets like Parts of Speech or Verbals.  I make 3 or 4 sets of the cards and break my students into teams.  Each team gets a set of cards. Then I give them one minute to do tasks like "find as many nouns as you can" or "find as many sentences using infinitives as you can".  The team that gets the most wins that round.  I've also used Quizlet flashcards to make term/definition matching tasks!  I often make these more active by having kids move around and sort cards into boxes or something like that.

5. Scoot

This is another great way to use task cards!  Each student gets an answer sheet.  I tape the task cards to desks and tables around the room in numerical order.  Students move from desk to desk writing down the answer to each card on their sheet.  It doesn't matter what number a student starts with, as long as they write in the correct box on the answer sheet.  This activity is great for getting kids up and moving! Here is a sample from my "Types of Sentences" task card set.

6. Score Four

Do you know the card game "Spoons"?  You have to collect 4 of a kind, then grab a spoon from the middle of the table where there is always one fewer than the number of players (like musical chairs).  Well, I use my task cards to play my version of "Spoons" which I call "Score Four".  This is an AWESOME game for small groups.  I always give the groups an answer key so that they can self-check each other.  Rules for "Score Four" are included in each task card set! Click on picture to learn more!

7. Matching

As I mentioned in #4, I like using Quizlet flashcards printed out to have kids work together to match terms and definitions.  I usually make a race out of it!  Nothing motivates middle schoolers like a bit of competition!

8. Timer Games

Enough said...use a timer projected on the whiteboard and watch kids hustle to finish ANY task!  I like to pull out personal whiteboards or have a few students write on my big whiteboard and give tasks like, "write as many sentences using similes as you can before the buzzer", or "list as many adjectives as you can in 30 seconds".

9. Marker Toss

This is whole class fun!  I project a homework assignment on the whiteboard.  Kids take turns correcting their work up at the board (best to do with work that kids have already done once, so no one gets stumped on the spot).  I randomly call on one student to start, then after they circle, underline, or write the answer on the whiteboard, they toss the marker to any student to do the next one.  Kids LOVE being able to throw things, and it keeps all kids paying attention so they don't get bonked in the head with a marker ;)

10.Board Games

I often use board games and adapt them to whatever I'm teaching.  Maybe kids play Scrabble, but can only use verbs.  Or, we play Trivial Pursuit with comprehension questions from the novel we are reading.  You can do this whole group or small group and it is a really easy way to get kids engaged!

There you have it!  My TOP TEN ways to incorporate games in your Middle School and High School Classroom!  You can use these games with any subject!

1 comment:

  1. I am all about classroom games! There are some great ideas here. Thanks!