(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)
I introduced a game-style activity yesterday for our vocabulary lessons called Mystery Word, where you give a series of escalating clues for the guesser to guess the word. Honestly, I needed about twice the time I allocated for this during classtime (we had other things to get to, too), and it all felt too rushed to be as effective as I wanted it to be.
Next time … more time.
This is my very simple sample (which I followed with a sample of a word from our class vocabulary list):
But, the students really enjoyed the challenge of coming up with clues that pointed to a vocabulary word without giving it away completely at the start. I had them write the clues out on notecards, which we then distributed around the room. A better version would have been to have each one read the clues, one clue at time, to a partner, and use our listening skills to locate the words. And I probably should have done more quick mini-lessons on syllables, Parts of Speech, rhyming, etc.
I didn’t make up the Mystery Words activity, and I was trying to remember where it came from. I think it is both a variation of a Mystery Number activities that our math teacher does earlier in the year (complex clues to find a number) and an adaptation of a lesson from a writing project teacher who co-taught a digital writing summer project for struggling high school students with me as my English as a Second Language partner, and I gleaned a lot of vocabulary acquisition ideas from her work.
The game-and-guess format makes for an engaging time, and adds a wrinkle to learning and using new words.
Peace (is the lesson),
Kids seem to really enjoy learning through playing games. Something we adults have forgotten how to do. I like that you tried a new approach, saw the drawbacks and thought about modifications. That’s teaching in action!
Gaming as notecards, eh? It always takes me at least three tries before I get an activity or lesson tweaked to my liking. Seems like this was an awesome beginning to an even richer lesson ahead.