September 23, 2016

Word Chunk Team Game!

img_5038Vive the Word Wall!  We have many new words on the word walls that are being built before our eyes as new language emerges in class.  They will be used in the Word Chunk Team Game, otherwise known as the WCTG.

This game is amazing and the kids clamor for it.  The way it is set up, kids run the whole thing!  All I have to do is use the word wall to provide chunks of words.  Easy and enjoyable way to spend a Friday.  I like to do this every other week.

The WCTG and Silent Ball are the ONLY games I have EVER found in twelve years of K-12 teaching  that do not drive me absolutely BONKERS.  I do not like games.  Too much work for me.  But the WCTG and the Counting Game (a variation of Silent Ball) work for me and I do not feel that wrung-out feeling of having worked hard to maintain order in the classroom while other people had all the fun, which is common for me with other games.  Thanks to the kids in Room 23 in 2006 for teaching me Silent Ball and thanks to Ben Slavic for teaching me the WCTG this past year.  Yes, it took me all this time to see the wonder of the WCTG.  But now that I have seen it, I can’t look away!!)

Here are the procedures for the WCTG that work best for me.

  1.  Kids are in groups.  Three is my favorite number.  Not too big nor too small.  Tell the the groups are permanent for the whole year and also that they will be accumulating points on a cumulative basis all year.
  2. As kids are forming groups, look for two or three who do not want to be in a group or who are not able to join a group for whatever reason.  These kids will be your assistants.
  3. Assistant one will judge the hands going up – which group responds first.
  4. Assistant two will judge the group gesture – is it made in perfect sync?
  5. As the groups work on the next step, have the assistants draw a huge Skee-Ball target on the board.
  6. The groups decide on their team name (this will stick with them all year) and team gesture (also sticks with them all year).  I told my kids that the gesture can include sound, and that it has to be able to be performed within about five seconds or less and in/near their chairs.  (i.e. no running about the room and getting too crazy!)
  7. Have one of the assistants make a list of names of the teams on the board.
  8. I tell th class that I am old and easily annoyed and their job is to keep me happy and not annoyed or we will do a different activity – for the next two WCTG Fridays!!  The best way to make me NOT ANNOYED are:  Never argue with the assistants.  They are like gods in this room.  NEVER argue with me.  I am too old for that and my paycheck is too small to put up with it.  Arguing gets your team disqualified for four rounds!   Also, between rounds I will count 5-4-3-2-1-0.  If I hit zero and your team is still talking, you have to sit out two rounds.
  9. Do a practice round for no points:
    a.  Tell them you will only pull from the word wall.
    b.  Tell them they will her the chunk twice but if they raise their hands before the end of the second time, they will be disqualified from the round.  (I tell my kids to sit on their hands.)
    c.  Make up a random chunk of words with vocab from the word wall.  For example, using the picture above I could say, “Vamos a votar como agentes secretos.”  Say it twice, fairly slowly.
    d.  Hands will spring up.  Have the hands assistant decide who was #1, #2, and #3 (in case of a run-off if th first group misses it).
    e.  Repeat the chunk again for the first group.
    f.  They then perform their gesture.
    g.  Have the gesture assistant deem if they did the gesture in complete unison, thereby becoming eligible to translate.
    h.  They translate.  I am super strict about every word’s being correct.
    i.  If they get it right, a point is awarded and I count 5-4-3-2-1-0 and move on to another chunk.
    j.  If they do not get it right, the hands assistant calls on the group that had their hands up second (do not repeat the chunk and have them re-raise their hands, too much chaos!).  Repeat the chunk for them and have them perform the gesture then answer if the gestures assistant deems them eligible.
    k.  I only repeat this three times.  If no one gets it right, I tell the class the translation and move on to another chunk, otherwise it gets boring fast.
  10. When a group gets three points they can spend 60 seconds in the Skee-Ball game.  I have one assistant time them and the other assistant tallies the points .  The team must stand on a certain line and toss a ball or some such, at the big bullseye on the board.  They can have one kid do it or take turns, it is up to the team.
  11. Huge points are racked up by teams who get to play Skee-Ball.  But it is OK as the points are cumulative and other teams will have a chance to get massive points NEXT TIME!

Teacher note:  I highly recommend this game for EVERY FRIDAY in May!  😀
Other teacher note:  Ben is adamant that the prize for the team with the most points is awarded on the LAST DAY of school.

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About Lanny Ball

For more than 23 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy and reading consultant in Northwestern Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on Twitter @LannyBall, as well as his literacy blog: lannyball.com or lannyball.blog.

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