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May 16

Written by: deb
5/16/2014 4:01 AM  RssIcon

Teachers today have so many common core standards to teach that they must be sure every minute of classroom time is used wisely. So, the question comes up...should games be used in the classroom?

Playing a classroom game that reinforces a previously taught skill is an awesome way to get students involved!  Keep watching EC's blog for classroom "moments" that will include simple and fun ways to reinforce a skill through small group or whole classroom games.

Today's game idea...20 Questions or More!

This is an excellent way to review any and all previously learned skills. Using 3 x 5 index cards, write a question for any subject area. Here are some examples:


**What does congruent mean?
**How many days are in three weeks?
**What is the sum of 9 plus 8?
**What is the difference between 12 and 3?
**What is the definition of "product" in math?


**What is an antonym?
**What is the definition of a noun?
**What is a synonym for "nice"?
**In the sentence, "John ran to school," what is the verb?

***Phonics, Spelling

**What is a word that begins with SW that can keep you warm?
**Name a word that has the OW sound in it.
**Spell (any word)

***History/Social Studies

**In what year did Christopher Columbus sail to the New World?
**What is something that Benjamin Franklin invented?

Since you are the person creating the questions, these will be based on your taught curriculum.

How to play....

  This game was designed to help students retain what has been learned throughout the school year. As you teach a topic, add the definitions and vocabulary meanings to your ever-growing list of questions for the game. For example, when you teach multiplication you can not only add multiplication problems to the questions, but you can add the terminology of product and factor as questions. My 20 Questions game is not played until about the third week of school and then I do my best to play it once a week to help keep everything we learned from being “lost” as new skills are added.


    We generally play for about 20 minutes to a half hour on Fridays. The students go to the back of the room, where they quietly await the choices for captains of the teams. One way to be fair, of course, is to draw popsicle sticks with students names so that everyone gets the opportunity to be a team captain. I choose 4 or 5 captains (I like 4 to 5 students per group) and one at a time, they choose their team members. Once the students are in their groups, they are given one minute to choose a name for their team. I keep score on the white board as we play, by using tally marks (which are later counted as a math skill).


     The students are informed that this is a quiet game because unruly groups will miss their turn. I advise them that by listening they may learn the answer for the next time a question is asked. The first group’s first student is asked to choose a 5 point, 10 point, or 20 point question. The question is asked and if the student gives a correct answer the points are put on the board and I will then ask the first student in the second group to choose a question. The groups are NOT allowed to discuss possible answers. The only one that can answer is the student who chose the question. If the answer is wrong, the question is put into a pile to be reviewed at the end of the game when anyone can raise their hand to answer (though no points are given for this).


     The teams get stamps on their incentive cards….first place usually gets five stamps plus a pick from a small prize box. The 2nd place team gets 10 stamps, 3rd gets 7 stamps, 4th gets 5 stamps, and the 5th group gets 3. With this constant review, the kids generally remember the things that you really feel they should retain.


     The 20 point questions are things that have JUST been introduced. The 10 point are those that have been learned a week or two ago and the 5 point questions are things that they should have mastered by now. Questions get moved….I let the kids decide when to move them from 20 to 10 ….sometimes they want the question moved all the way down to 5 points from 20. Rarely will they suggest moving a question back up in value.


     They love playing and really do end up knowing most of the information by year’s end!

 Have fun!


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