What is it? A test prep strategy. Responding to student needs in the moment. A lot of fun. Worth the time and energy.
What it is not…Teaching to the test. (It only takes 15-20 minutes to play. You can give the passages for homework or do them for practice the previous day).
Why students love it? It gives a purpose for all the test prep practice beyond the obvious and makes it way more fun! They need fun around this time of year.
Quick details: Two teams face off after reading and answering multiple choice questions. Two students from each team challenge each other. Points are awarded and kids are happy.
Materials: Test prep books or any review questions that are multiple choice format, *red/green signals, *projector for questions and answers (*not necessary)
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Variations and tips:
- Use with short response as well–challengers face off for an answer that ATQs (Answers the question) and evidence that supports. Our students have to use TWO text details, so that’s what we’re looking for. I’m the judge and one team is awarded the win for their response.
- Sometimes I grade all the short responses and award the team with the most points according to the rubric bonus points. It’s less exciting than the multiple choice, but important too! It’s also perfect for math and most subjects where test taking practice is needed.
- There are transition songs and good job songs and theme songs to keep things moving. Our transition song comes from my cheer days “Switch it change it, rearrange it” x 3 then a countdown 5-4-3-2-1 and we start the next question.
- Some teachers who have adopted this method have the teams meet before playing to compare answers and in some cases make much smaller groups. I like the independence of the Prep Time in my version, but this is smart too for peer coaching and discussion.
- Throw in a ball! This year my students are into basketball, so I made it interesting with shooting for double the points. It evens the playing field a bit and it’s definitely fun!
- My colleague, Ms. D, decided to use game show music instead of the chants I do–you know her students love it!
- The game show will be successful only if students know expectations and ways of responding to someone if they get the wrong answer or vice versa. Encouragement and understanding are key to this game. I encourage students to say why they got an answer whether it’s right or wrong and our community must see that the game is more than points, but really about doing the best you can and improving in the test taking genre.