|The original vocab word was "shackle."|
Unfortunately, the VP had a couple dozen other classes to check. Desperate to avoid the chaos that naturally follows bored kids, I tried a few practice activities. No go; the students were indignant about doing schoolwork while on the floor. Finally, I tried the Telephone Game.
My students were from all over the world and had never heard of the game.We giggled as we whispered our sentence from ear to ear. I was proud knowing that they were getting feedback on their pronunciation and that we were under control...until everyone busted up laughing when the last person said what she had heard: "I am a student learning English" had become "I see eggs and nurse."
StoryLines for Schools is a combination of the Telephone Game and Pictionary. Like my classroom game, it is silly fun with some fun practice built in. The silly way to play is easy, and I actually think this would be a fun activity for English Language Learners in particular (though we play it at home and we are pretty good at English). Student A writes a sentence or chooses an idiom. The iPad is passed to the next student. Student B sees the idiom or sentence and draws a representation of it. iPad is passed again and Student C writes what he thinks he sees.
Another way to play is to have the students write in their vocab words, or they can build general word skills by choosing from elementary, intermediate, or SAT vocab. This would be a really fun "station" game and a fun time killer after tests or when you're saying, ducking and covering.
- Does it do what it says it'll do? Yep. Low expectations: "A game of telephone with pictures." check.
- Does it solve a current problem in the classroom? Ok, not really.
- Does it create a new opportunity in the classroom? Ok, not really, either. You could do the silly way with paper. But a kid could practice SAT words in a small group -- it's a fun idea to think of what "stations" could look like for older kids. I know my ESL kids liked them a lot.
- Would Thomas Jefferson think it was cool? Well, it does give students a higher-order-thinking way to practice vocabulary, and finding motivating ways to extend practice time on important things like words would've definitely floated TJ's boat.