Hi everyone! I’m Ashleigh from Ashleigh’s Education Journey, and I’m so excited to be a part of The Organized Classroom Blog today. I wanted to share with you one of my favorite games that I use to teach academic vocabulary to my students.
Before I introduce the game, I’d like to give a quick overview of my vocabulary instruction. I’ve found that when teaching academic vocabulary, it’s hard to beat Marzano’s 6 steps for teaching vocabulary:
1. Give a description and examples of the word.
2. Ask students to explain the term in their own words. They should not copy down a definition.
3. Have students draw a picture, symbol, or graphic organizer of the word.
4. Be sure to have students complete activities and tasks that allow them to further develop their understanding of the term.
5. Students should also have time to interact with each other and discuss the vocabulary words.
6. Play games to help students store the terms in their long term memory.
Now for the fun stuff! The game is called Mile-a-Minute and can be used to review vocabulary terms that students have previously learned. One of the best parts of the game is that all you need is a projector and your vocabulary slides and you’re ready to go! The vocabulary slides should be a list of terms in specific categories. In the example below, geography is the category and the words listed below are terms I want my students to know.
How to Play
This game is very similar to the game “Taboo”. You will need to assign each student a partner (my students sit in groups of 4, so I just pair up students who sit beside each other). Tell one partner to face the projector’s screen and one partner to face the opposite direction. As soon as students are ready, display a vocabulary slide and tell students to begin. The partner facing the screen should immediately tell their partner the category and try to get their partner to say all of the terms on the screen by providing clues such as definitions, synonyms, and antonyms. They cannot spell, give rhyming words, or say any of the words on the list, and of course NO PEEKING. You can either give students a time limit to try to complete as many words as possible, or you can play until someone says all the words on the list.
After each round, discuss the terms and what clues could have been used for each of the terms. You can keep playing by having the partners switch spots and repeating the steps with a different slide.
I love this game, because it requires every student in the class to participate at the same time, and I love that students get instant feedback on their vocabulary knowledge. It is fast-paced and exciting for students and is an amazing review at the same time, and is a great game for when you have a couple extra minutes before or after a transition.
I like to introduce this game by using very simple words that don’t present much of a challenge to students to allow them to understand how to play the game. Then I introduce the academic vocabulary into the game. Have fun!
You can download some of the slides I use with my students, so hopefully they’ll give you some ideas of categories and terms that you can use with your students.