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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

iZone Summer Institute: Putting Active into Activities

I made the (fortunate) mistake of going to this session after lunch. At 37 weeks pregnant, the last thing I wanted was to be in a session that required constant movement.

Guess what? At 8-9 years old, I'm sure my students feel the same way after lunch. That's why I'm glad I went to this session. I was engaged in learning, active (which my doctor would appreciate), and happy. That's right. Happy. I was getting to socialize in a productive way with my colleagues. That makes me happy. :)

This session was created to make sure that our students are actively engaged in learning.
That means moving.
That means productive conversations.
That means manipulatives
That means a whole lot of modeling for teachers before letting students go at these.

Get ready! It's going to be a fun ride!

Putting Active into Activities
 ** Anything written in italics is something I would do to modify the activity in my classroom**

Walk- About Cards

This was our opening activity.
  • Every student has a folded index card- question on the outside, answer on the inside. 
  • Students also have either a stamp or sheet of small stickers.
  • Students walk around the room asking each other the questions on the cards.
  • If students know the answer, they receive a stamp or sticker from their partner. If they don't know the answer, their partner tells them the answer from the inside.
  • Students trade cards before moving on to find another person to ask. 
  • After time is up, students write down as many of the facts as they can remember. Teacher would also walk around and tally how many stamps or stickers were earned during the game. Possible prize?
Possible uses:
  • Vocabulary review
  • Informal pre- assessment
  • Fast facts (like math)
  • English/ Spanish (or any other foreign language being learned)
  • Grammar skills (like singular/ plural nouns)
  • Science/ Social Studies review

Three Strikes

(the example from the session)
  • Students are in pairs for this activity
  • Each student has his/ her own set of questions to ask their partner. Questions can be teacher created or student created, based on what your class can handle or what you need them to cover.
  • Partner A asks Partner B questions. If PB can answer on the first try, he/ she gets 3 points. If PB can't answer, then PA will give them the answer, put an X in the circle, and move on to the next question. 
  • When all questions have been asked, then PA goes back and re-asks the questions that PB missed the first time. If PB gets the answer the second time around, he/ she gets 2 points. If PB still can't answer, PA gives them the answer again and goes on to the next previously missed question. 
  • Keep going until each question has been asked 3 times.
  • Once Partner A has asked the questions on his/ her sheet, then Partner B gets to ask PA questions on their sheet. (questions should be different)
  • Once all questions have been asked, students should add up their points. (Prizes given at teacher discretion)
  • Students go back to their seats and fill in answers to all the questions asked. (from a teacher prepared sheet)
Possible uses:
  •  Science content review
  • Social studies content review
  • Vocabulary review
  • Book study review
If you'd like a blank copy, follow these links!


Scavenger Hunt

(example from session)
  • Teacher prepares the puzzle based on a chosen topic (in the example, it's a review of the book The Outsiders)
  • Cards with answers on the front and "secret letters" on the back are taped to the walls around the room. 
  • Some cards can be decoy cards with the wrong possible answers (I thought that was genius!)
  • Students will walk around the room filling in the blanks with the answers. Then they will flip the card up and fill in the letter for the "secret message" at the bottom. 
  • If the secret message at the bottom is not correct, students will know that their top answers should be checked!
Possible Uses:
  • Story reviews
  •  Math word problems
  • Science/ Social studies review

Scramble (Matching)
This is just a matching game. The thing to remember is to have materials already prepared and separated. You can have students cut and paste, but if you want to be able to reuse the activity, use cardstock and laminate the pieces. 
Students can work in pairs or independently. Make sure they have a documentation sheet to turn in for a grade.

Possible uses:
  • ANYTHING!! That's the beauty of this type of activity! It can be as simple as matching color cards to the color words, or as difficult as Latin prefixes/ suffixes and their meaning. The choice is yours!
Free Matching Games from my TPT store- GO GET THEM!!


  • Teacher prepares 8-12 index cards with errors on each, and places them around the room
  • Students should have a documentation sheet to turn in. Teacher discretion as to whether the sheet has the sentences already written on it to be fixed.
  • Students can work in small groups or individually as they go around the room to "fix" the sentences.
Possible Uses:
  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling
  • Math facts
  • Science/ Social studies facts
  • Grammar practice (ex. noun/ verb agreement, punctuation, capitalization)
  • This activity lends itself well to the previous game- matching. You might have some "sick" sentences and some "well" sentences. Students would have to decide which is which, and then "fix" the "sick" sentences.
These next activities were given to us in our packet, but we ran out of time to do them in the session.


 Possible Uses:
Review on any subject: reading comprehension, science, social studies, etc.


Thank you, Valery Taylor and Patricia Jones, Ed. D for these great ideas!

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