More games in the classroom

My new job brought a lot of transitions: new school, new students (in new age levels), new city, new social life, and new threats from natural disasters (I am lucky to have survived Irma so well). Now that I am getting more settled in Jacksonville, I want to get back into the blogging habit and share some of the things that I have been doing in my new classroom. I have been trying to meet my students where they are, in terms of attention spans, energy levels, ability to sit still, and love of competition. In that spirit, I have been trying to add more games and physical movement to the class. Here are some of the things that I have tried:

  • Quizlet Live. Students use their iPads and compete on teams to see which team can match 12 terms (usually vocabulary words) correctly in a row.
  • Kahoot! Students use their iPads to compete against each other to see who can earn the most points from timed multiple choice questions. I have been using this for parsing and translating new forms (e.g. passive verbs), but it can also be nicely used for cultural questions.
  • Family Feud. With my Latin 4s, I asked them a series of questions that lend themselves to lists: “Name a construction with ut in Latin,” “What is a use of the Ablative case?”, “Name a use of quam.” The points for each answer were based on my impression of how often that answer is used in Latin. For example, purpose clauses earned more points than negative fear clauses.
  • Jeopardy! A nice way to review verb forms (with each tense as a category).
  • Latin Basketball. Students were asked a grammar or parsing question. If they got it right they earned a point and the chance to shoot a basket (with a tennis ball into a garbage can). if they made the basket, they earned a point. The students taught me this one.
  • Memory or matching card games with the correct forms. This worked really well for reviewing the demonstrative adjectives. I would suggest not using dark colored markers on white notecards, because the students can read through the cards and it leads to a different kind of game (though with a similar pedagogical value).
  • Asking students to show a specific card to indicate whether an adjective was positive, comparative, or superlative. This seemed less successful than the next game…
  • With my seventh graders who just learned the present tense of the first and second conjugation, I had them go outside and run to a card that parsed a verb I named.  For example, they ran to “1st person plural present active indicative” for “amamus.” If there was disagreement (or even if there wasn’t disagreement), I asked them to explain how they knew the correct answer. Then, I asked them all to translate the form.
  • Pictionary/Charades to review vocabulary. It works better without asking them to produce a specific form (i.e. they draw or act out monere, not monemus).

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