Monday, May 12, 2014

Guest Post! Reviewing Science Vocabulary

Even though my blog has been pushed to the side (frequently) this year, I still firmly believe it's one of the most powerful ways to connect with educators. This post is one of the reasons why I believe in the blog! A fellow teacher in Missouri, Cori, reached out to me through my blog and since then we've been emailing back and forth sharing ideas. Below you will find her fantastic idea on using games (Pictionary, Taboo, etc.) in the classroom to spice up your review of vocabulary.
I love playing games: card, board, video, word, mind. So any chance I have to incorporate games into my classroom, I am all over it! When we finished our final science unit before the MAP test, I wanted to incorporate vocabulary into our review, but of course I wanted to make it fun for everyone, myself included. I needed something that the students would look forward to while we did our other review activities. I knew some quick & easy educational games were the answer.

As I began thinking about the kinds of games I wanted to play, two came to mind rather quickly: Pictionary & Taboo. My kids love to draw and we have played a version of Taboo with context clues that they loved; I knew these would be good options.

When we play Pictionary, the students are divided into two teams. The first team member picks a card and begins to draw a picture that represents that card (or sort of looks like the word). The student has 30 seconds to get his/her teammates to correctly guess the word. During this time, there are many excited and loud students saying all kinds of science words: exactly what I want to hear!! They may not always be related, but they’re science words and the effort is there! Now, if team one has not correctly guessed within the 30 second time limit, team two has a chance to steal, Family Feud style. Each team member gets a chance to draw. At some points, after a difficult word or science tool, I ask the students some questions about the topic or show them an example. When we played through the first day, the student who drew the Spring Scale card had a difficult time. After some thought she drew a picture of apples on a scale, like at the grocery store, and her teammates came through with the correct answer! Once she had finished, I showed the class a spring scale we had used for some of our labs and we discussed Newtons and Force.

For Taboo, the top word on the card is the one the team needs to guess and the words on the bottom are the buzz words that cannot be said.

Students play on two teams. A student holds the stack of cards and tries to get the teammates to correctly guess the answer after giving clues. If they cannot think of the word or the team is having trouble guessing, he or she can skip the card and place it at the back of the stack. (Even with the best clues, sometimes the team is still stumped.) The student has 30 seconds to get as many correctly identified cards as they can. During the game, it was great to hear the students connect the words to experiments we did or sing parts of songs we have learned. As I noticed kids skipping words, I made note of what we needed to still review.

Overall, we have played the games the past four days in my classroom. We take about 15 minutes at the end of the hour after we have done other review activities. This has really been fun for the students and exciting for me as their confidence grows with the various science words. Hopefully, with the extra practice, the students will win next week as we begin the MAP test.

If you're interested in downloading Cori's freebies, access the vocabulary pages here.


Thanks to Cori for demonstrating how powerful a blog can be!

Connected Educator
Happy Monday, teachers!

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