Superteachertools.com – #6 of 10 Tech Things

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April 19, 2011 by k. liz

What is it? Superteachertools.com
What do I use it for? Review games – every week!
How long does it take? Maybe 20-30 minutes of prep work, and then it’s ready. I usually use these for 30-40 minutes in class.
My rating: ********* 9/10 (Is it a normal teacher thing to like, never give 10/10?)

Okay, this website has been a lifesaver for me. I use this almost every week. Generally, I teach Reading and Vocabulary. We cover 2 or 3 reading units and 3 vocabulary units each week. The students are tested over the vocabulary from their vocabulary book which can sometimes be nearly 100 words a week. Usually, they are already familiar with several of the words, but some are definitely new. I have seven class hours with my Reading and Vocabulary class every week, and generally I save Friday (or Thursday if that is my last class with them) for a review game day. So, today I am sharing superteachertools.com as well as some of my philosophies for end of week review. I don’t know about all of you, but I like to keep a routine to my Friday reviews, and I feel that since I’ve developed this routine, my students have felt a lot more confident and comfortable with their vocabulary quizzes. So, here you go –

Friday Review

Every week, I make a review sheet for my students. One side of this sheet has three columns corresponding to the three vocabulary units with all of the words (and only the words) listed in them. Usually my students use this to write the Turkish words on the paper. I don’t discourage this – honestly, I’d probably do the same thing if it were me. But I will not provide them with the Turkish translations. If they want them, they have to look them up themselves. On the back of the sheet, I usually make several activities similar to what they will encounter on their quiz – some fill in the blank, some matching, sometimes labeling or writing sentences.

Now, back to Friday: on Friday, I will usually give this paper to my students at the beginning of class (maybe the class before so they can work on the activities for homework.) However, I let them use this list of words for the review game. With over 50 words every week, I want my students to be able to identify the right words, not necessarily produce them in a game atmosphere. So, they have all of the words in front of them, like a word bank, and then we play our game.

Making the Games

To make the games – I generally play Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire (there are other options, but I have not used them in class as much, with the exception of hangman – that is a fun “Lower Filter” game to play for five minutes at the beginning of class – and it saves me from any embarrassment when I forget to write a letter!)

These games are super simple to make on Superteachertools.com. You need to:
1. select “Make a New Game”
2. enter your categories and questions – you can also add pictures (but remember they will take some time to load when you are playing the game) by copying the image address and putting that into the question blank.
3. save your game as a txt file on your computer (you can change the name so it is easier to locate, just make sure it is a .txt file)
4. download the flash file into the same folder
5. when you are ready to play your game – open the flash file, then copy and paste only the name of the txt file into the game name blank and press “load”
6. play your game! The best thing about this is that you must create the game when you have internet, but you can play it anytime afterwards, because                                                                                                               it saves offline!

This should work with no problems, but if for some reason something doesn’t work, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll look into it. 🙂

My Game Philosophies 🙂 

Okay, so I shared a little of this yesterday, but here are some of my philosophies when playing games in class:

I personally like to give every team a chance to answer. My students are stubborn and easily distracted, so if it is only one teamanswering, the others will tune out. If I am playing Millionaire, I will give my students A, B, C, D cards and have them hold up which they think is the correct answer. If I am playing Jeopardy (and can get a hold of the white boards before someone else) I will use small whiteboards and have the teams write their answers and hold it up.

On Jeopardy, there is a built in scoring system, but in Millionaire there isn’t (because it is designed as a solo game.) So,sometimes I keep the score on the board, sometimes I take my poker chips to class and I hand out “money” as they answer questions correctly, and the team with the most at the end wins. Somedays I take prizes for the winners, sometimes I let the satisfaction of winning be enough, sometimes I take the winners to the canteen for coffee and chocolate.

This last week, I had a few competitions in the class before the final class, and I used those points to carry over to the game. We were playing Jeopardy, so this worked nicely as no team ended up in the negatives. I also recently decided that I would choose the numerical value of the questions rather than letting my students, because they tend to choose 50s first and then get discouraged when they are at -150.

I also have recently been switching up the questions – some questions will be writing the answer, some questions will be shouting the answer. This tends to keep the game a little more lively and gives students a chance to either catch up, jump ahead, or at least not lose points for a round! I also love the final Jeopardy option. It took my students a little while to catch on to the whole “betting your money” thing – and I always laughed when the last place team ended up winning.

My husband also had an interesting idea – though I have not tried it yet. At the beginning of the game, he would allot each team a certain set of “bonuses.” They might get two 2x the point value, and one x3 the point value. They had to choose to use it before giving their answers – so if they were wrong, it would be negative 2x, but if they were correct, it would be positive 2x. I know his classes enjoyed that, and it gave students more motivation to keep playing, knowing they could still catch up even if they were quite a bit behind.

Okay . . . so that’s my end of week review post! Let me know what you do, and if you have different games or if you stick to the same ones. I’ve tried others in the past, but these are my tried and true go-to games. Superteachertools.com makes it really simple, really efficient, and I love their games. I’ve never encountered any glitches . . . oh – and they have GREAT sound effects too! Definitely a plus.

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