December 1, 2016

Save Your Sanity with Games: Use Teen Energy for Good, Not Evil

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The semester is winding down. Although that is an exciting time, if you are like me, you are probably dreading writing a semester exam and getting your students ready for it. Students seem to go crazy at this time of year and it makes it really tough to keep their energy levels from just taking over the class. I have found that the best way to maintain my own sanity is to use their energy and excitement for good, not evil. For this reason, I try to use a variety of games in class to keep them engaged, active, and learning. Here are a few great review games that I use to help my students prepare for their semester exams and at the same time, channel their energy. These can be adapted to any subject or grade level depending on your needs. 





        1.  Human Tic-Tac-Toe – this is a game I came up with back during my student teaching internship. This is a fantastic game if you have students that like to be out of their seat. Be sure to click the link for a free download of this game. This game will only be free from December 1-12, 2016 so be sure you grab it now. After the 12th, it will return to being $3.00 on TpT.   


         2.  Trashketball – this is a well-known game where you put students into teams (depending on how many students you have, you could have multiple teams). Then you ask them questions. If the team or individual (depending on how you structure the answering of the questions) answers the question correctly, they get to then shoot a ball (real or paper) into the basket. I usually do a 1, 2, & 3-point line. 

   I also make sure to include a few rules like how everyone must answer a question and shoot their ball before another team member can answer/shoot. This just makes sure that I don't have one person dominating the question answering and the shooting. 

  • Check out this super perfect trashcan you can use that Bed, Bath, & Beyond has! Obviously you can use any trashcan but this one just adds that special touch. (not an affiliate link - I just love this and had to share!)

 3. Kahoot – I love this game for so many reasons. Check out my previous post to explain why! (click the image below) If you have never used Kahoot, you are TRULY missing out!! My students beg to play this game!

      
        4.  Speed Review – This is another random game I just came up with when I needed something that didn't take a lot of preparation (since teaching is full of free time & all!). To give you a little help imagining this, think Speed Dating but instead of dating, you are reviewing. 


  • Have students sit with their desks lined up in two different lines. They should be sitting across from another student like the picture below. 


  • They will have their study guide or study notes out with them unless you want to assign them the task of writing out review questions for homework. If your students are like mine, you are better off just having them either do this in class or use their notes. 
  • They will take turns asking each other questions and  answering them. I usually give them about 3 minutes, then I make one of the lines rotate to a new partner. This gives them the opportunity to engage with every member of the class and review with multiple questions. 


       I have to admit that one of the things that I really love about these games is that they are very student-led. I have also even had students lead the games and play gameshow host. Believe it or not, this has worked really well for me. As long as I give them all expectations of behavior & lay out the rules clearly, I am able to step back and merely be the referee in case there is a question. I love this. I am a huge believer in students taking responsibility for their own education and I love when I am able to play the facilitator role in my classroom when they are reviewing material. It just makes me feel like I have done my job as their teacher to enable them to do these things on their own successfully. 

    What do you think? Do you have any games that have really helped your students stay engaged and learning? I would love to hear about them. Please comment below with your thoughts. I love to hear ideas from others!!!


    I hope that these ideas have inspired you & will help save at least some of your sanity before the Christmas break!! For more awesome tips, be sure that you read my fellow blogger's posts about saving your sanity as well!! You can find out who everyone is & their blog information HERE


ALSO, MAKE SURE YOU ENTER  OUR GIVEAWAY!!!!


If  you aren't already aware, today is the first day of "The 12 Days of December" Giveaway!!! Be sure that you enter here: The 12 Days of December Giveaway Entry!

Today's winner will receive the following:





The 12 Days of December

30 comments:

  1. Awesome Tic-Tac-Toe game - thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks! Glad you like it! If you are able to use it in your class, I would love to hear how it went!

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  2. I love winning! I hope to enter every day!

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    1. Good luck! Yes, be sure you enter every chance you get!

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! My students LOVE games so I have to get creative!

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  4. Thanks you for taking the time to make this post.

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  5. Thank you for sharing such awesome ideas! Our students LOVE Kahoot! I had never heard of Human Tic-Tac-Toe before, but it sounds like a great idea! :)

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    1. Yes, Kahoot is like the biggest thing for my kids right now. I just randomly came up with the Human Tic-Tac-Toe game back when I was a poor student teacher and we didn't have all the technology we have now. The kids loved it. It is rather juvenille but even my 12th graders enjoy it. :)

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  6. April,
    I love these game ideas. Seriously...what an awesome way to channel WAY TOO MUCH energy this time of year! I plan to try your tic-tac-toe game and a wicked game of Kahoot! Thanks so much for sharing!

    ~Amanda

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    1. Thanks Amanda! This time of year, you have to do something with all that energy they have! Thanks for commenting!

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  7. Thanks for the Christmas Memes! My students will love these!

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  8. My students LOVE Kahoot! and trasketball. When I first told them we were going to play a game, they actually grumbled (being the super cool 12th graders they are) but then they totally got into it! I'm excited to try the human tic-tac-toe, especially before the holidays.

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    1. Yep, my 12th graders are like that sometimes too! The tic-tac-toe game is kind of juvenille but they love it! We will be playing it this week to prep for exams. I hope your kids enjoy it as well!

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  9. Great ideas! My students love Kahoot too. You should link this post to my linky! http://sunshinesandandscissors.blogspot.com/2016/12/december-survival-tips-linky_3.html

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  10. These are such fun ideas! I remember playing "math-ketball" in school, and I have specific memories of a spelling version in my fifth grade classroom. :)

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  11. Thanks so much! Games are such a great way to create those memories that our students will remember long after they are in our class.

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  12. Great ideas, and I'm with you in channeling teen energy for good and not for evil!

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  13. Trashketball is one of my favorites too!

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