Finding ways to make my English Language Arts class interactive can be a challenge. I like having students up and moving but need to make sure that the movement strongly correlates with the learning objectives for a lesson. One option I came up with dealt with learning the common vocabulary that appears on our state achievement tests.
My students had been working with a long list (50 words) of literary terms that show up over and over on our state test. Many of my students were performing at a non-proficient level so my hope was that if they at least reviewed all the words they’d have a better chance of understanding the questions.
After they had defined the words and found examples I put each word and it’s definition into a set on the website Quizlet.com. I shared the link with all the students so they could study at home. (You can set up a class and invite each student- there are even apps for the site!) But, more to the point, I was able to project the games onto my interactive white board and have students come up in pairs to race! The game that worked best was called “Scatter.”
Students had to match the word with the term by dragging them across the screen. Each group got really into it and tried to beat the time of the other teams. I think students like a sense of competition. Everyone is successful because you get as much time as you need and if a match doesn’t work you get to try again. I think this helped students who were struggling to still have a sense of success.
We also used the flashcard feature to review as a whole class.
Overall, this technique of studying seemed to work well and was a good way to mix it up. We played other games and did other activities with the vocabulary, but the students got the biggest kick out of this one.
How do you get students up and moving in your classroom?
Sara Fuller is a 5 year veteran English teacher with an MA in literature who has experience teaching students ranging from the middle school to college level. She blogs about her teaching adventures at Ms. F’s Teaching Adventures and young adult books at YA Lit, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly!