I hate to admit it, but the truth is that there have been times during my 16 years as an English teacher when someone could hear a pin drop in the classroom. Although this might seem like a good situation, the silence wasn’t because my students were enthralled with their learning. In fact, an observer might have seen a few heads down on desks, and maybe even heard a little snoring.
But as most English teachers know, making grammar an exciting topic to learn can seem like a Herculean task. While grammar may be fascinating to fellow English teachers (we can talk about comma splices for an entire lunch period), most secondary students (and many adults) could care less about parts of speech, kinds of sentences, types of phrases, or innumerable other grammar concepts. And in the past, it didn’t help that I had resorted to boring lectures and worksheet practice.
However, happily this all changed a few years ago with the help of a student intern. He told me about a game that he played in his science class called “Trashketball.”
It is brilliant! Students review concepts and shoot baskets into a trash can! My students love it because the game gets them out of their seats and motivates them with their love of sports. In our school, we have 90 minute class periods, and anyone who has had to sit for an hour and a half, can most likely commiserate with my students.
Additionally, the game encourages friendly competition because the teacher arranges the class into teams. This team approach is an excellent way to meet the needs of all students when they are arranged in heterogeneous groups. The rules also encourage students to work together on their teams to solve the answers; they can keep trying to find a correct answer even after they have made a mistake.
The game doesn’t require many materials, and my Trashketball products make it easy to play! I provide power point Trashketball games that include detailed rules and explanations for both the students and the teacher. Furthermore, each game provides a brief review of its topic and includes several rounds of practice exercises. My top-selling game reviews verbal phrases, but there are a variety of games to play addressing multiple concepts. Here are a few:
Kim, the OCBeach Teacher, is a National Board Certified English teacher who is currently teaching American Literature and AP English Literature and Composition. She shares classroom ideas and tips on her OCBeachTeacher Facebook Page.