It seems that ever since we went virtual out of necessity at the start of the pandemic, we have made most things digital. That is okay for lots of things, but I find more and more that kids are burnt out on technology. That may not be true for your students in your teaching context, but it is my reality right now. So, how can I address this tech fatigue??
One thing I did a few weeks ago was play the old game “Dots and Boxes.” I wasn’t sure how it would go. To be honest, I had a back-up Gimkit game all loaded and ready to go just in case. Much to my surprise, it was a HUGE hit!
So, what did I do? Well, I reached back into my archive of worksheets that would review the concepts we needed for the assessment. Some were reading worksheets with questions about the reading (reading). Some were fill in the blank worksheets with targeted vocab and grammar required by my district (writing). Some were questions that had to be answered aloud (speaking). Some were based on a podcast and/or video they had to watch and listen to in order to answer the question. I briefly explained each page (I gave them 5) and then explained the game like this:
First, you start with a blank grid of dots.
Then, you allow one person to connect two dots to make one line.
Then, the next person must connect two dots, making a line.
This continues until there are are enough to make a box.
If you draw the 4th line that closes the box, you get to put your initials in that box.
This continues until all boxes have been made.
The winner is the one with the MOST boxes with initials.
So, you have the worksheets, you have the grid…how do you put it all together? Great question! What I did was first project the image above on my board. Then, I passed out a packet of the worksheets. I sat in a central part of my classroom where I could watch what was happening and I got a self-inking stamp (this will save your initials a million times in one day). Once students finished a couple of questions, they could come to me to check. I told them they had to have 5 questions completed on the worksheets or have one of the speaking prompts ready to go. If they were all correct, they got a stamp on their paper (made grading easier when I chose which one to grade) and they got to go draw a line. They could NOT draw a line until they were all correct. If even one was incorrect, I sent them back. This infuriated some, as I wouldn’t tell them which was incorrect. It made for some great group work though! They were ALL engaged and trying to win another line!
It was fun, engaging and they learned and problem-solved a LOT! Win-win.
I hope this helps with some ideas for teaching these required vocabulary sets and/or topics while keeping lessons focused on communication!