Setting aside, for the moment, all the crap things that have happened in the past few weeks--up to and including ANTS IN MY CLASSROOM--let me focus on something that has gone well at school.
I like to spend an entire class period reviewing for a test. To that end, I provide a study guide, the kids complete it on their own, we go over it in class, and then we play a review game.
My go-to review game is BINGO. It's easy, I don't have to do any prep work, and the kids like it. As the cherry on top, the students actually remember stuff afterwards, because they hear the test information several times.
[As an aside: Does catering to and babying students in this way prepare them for real-world assessment scenarios? No, probably not. But then, does taking a practice ACT every week for an entire year prepare them for real-world assessment scenarios? ... You see my point.]
I don't want to play BINGO every single time we prepare for a test, though, as we would all get bored and it would lose its ZING!, and I knew I had to come up with something else. So I did.
Reaching back into my childhood, I brought forth a game that is so old it's turned the corner back to new again: BATTLESHIP.
I drew two "boards" on the chalkboard, like so:
Each square is the equivalent of a peg-hole in the real game.
Some of my students argued that their opponents could see their strike zones, but I reminded them that I didn't have forty hours to be firing blind, and if they wanted to, they could just write the questions and answers from their study guides twenty-five times each. After that, I didn't get any more arguments.
I divided the students into two teams and seated them accordingly. I gave each team two "conferences," which are essentially lifelines: they could ask other members of their team for help if they used a conference; otherwise, they had to answer individually.
For each correct answer, I allowed the player to choose one target, and I would then put an X in the box s/he had chosen. Once a ship's boxes were all filled, I would do sound effects: "BOOM!" I'd shout when the battleship was sunk, and "boom!" I'd squeak when the patrol boat bit it.
We'd play until either the bell rang or all the boats were sunk.
One of my classes began to get very technical on me: "Noooooo, hit it in the engine room! Noooo, that's the artillery, we said ENGINE ROOM."
I said, "It's a misshapen eyeball filled with empty boxes. Get a grip."
Overall, it's one of my best review ideas yet. I give it an A.
Next time: CONNECT FOUR.