Wednesday, May 5, 2021

End of Year Survival Mode - Get Your “Game” Faces On

Let’s face it folks, it has been a hard and challenging year for teachers and students everywhere. (Yes, I know, this is an understatement!)

Whether you have been hybrid, in-person, online, or a combination of everything, it has been rough. We know that students need to continue to learn and be engaged, but we also know that we are all tired, more tired now than ever before.

Here are some ways that I’ve found to keep students engaged (both online and in school).

Let me be honest, I have never really been a fan of Kahoot, probably because the first class I tried it with barely read the questions before choosing answers and it felt like a colossal waste of time. 

However, I have rediscovered Kahoot this year and have found it to be a sanity lifesaver.

Kahoot Idea 1 - Homework Check

I have never been a fan of grading homework, as I have mentioned in previous posts. However, this year I am teaching ninth graders for the first time in many years, and it is really hard for them to buy into the mindset of “if you do the work, you’ll do better on tests.” So for a while I was collecting every class work and homework assignment. Which brought me to this first Kahoot idea - make a short Kahoot to start the class, using questions, (either the same or very similar to), the homework.

Ninth graders may not understand doing homework to understand material for a test, but they sure do understand doing homework to win a Kahoot! 

This is a quick and easy way to keep them accountable, and also an active way to get them involved in class (and for me to pick up easily on misconceptions that they are having WITHOUT having to grade homework!).

Kahoot Idea 2 - Student-Made

When students play a Kahoot, they either know the material or they don’t, but for students who are weaker or who haven’t been paying attention in class, sometimes it’s somewhat wasted practice. 

One way that I have found to really get them to focus more is to create their own Kahoots. I have done this with English Language Learners as well as on-level students, and as long as you give very specific expectations, I have had great success. Students love it, and then they love playing each other’s Kahoots. 

For a tired teacher, this can be two days worth of lessons -- one to create and one to play!  Win win win!

For lower level, or ELL students, I have them create Kahoots directly using the worksheets they’ve been given. Just choosing “wrong” answers as choices and re-writing the questions from the worksheets is great repetition for them to review the content.

For on-level students, encourage them to write their own questions.  

For both types of students, set up the expectations: 

How many questions should they have? (Usually ten is good.)

No “wasted” questions - “Did you love this Kahoot?” doesn’t count as a question!  

Tell them what material to cover (for a test review over a unit that had two sets of notes, for example, you may say, five questions from the first set of notes and five from the second).

Try telling them to include pictures - maybe 3 of the 10 questions must include a picture from the internet, (I have to remind them that the picture must support the question!).

Games Games Games!

If you have a final exam, or just want students to review what they have learned this year, there is no better way to get them to review a year's worth of topics than to get them to review with games!

You could set up stations, with a different topic at each station, and have students rotate. Or, you could have several of each game available for students to pick the ones they want to play each day.

The key to keeping students engaged with games for more than one class period is to have a VARIETY of games.

Adding games like board games and card games can be the BIG solution to keeping students engaged when they are getting bored of simple question/answer Kahoot or quiz show type games). 

Games where they’re studying/playing in pairs instead of as a whole class prevent them from feeling free to zone out into the crowd like they would during a whole class activity. And the one-on-one game format will bring out the competitiveness of even the most reluctant student!  

 All Chem Games Bundle
If you are in person, I have games for almost every topic in Chemistry - get them all with my new SUPER DELUXE GAME BUNDLE: 

or just mix and match individually from the topics you’ve covered, see below for a few examples.

There's no better or more fun way to end a difficult year!

Happy Gaming!

Chemistry Game

Tic Tac
Whack a Mole

Mole Concept

Molar Mass and
Percent Composition

The Periodic Trail