How Can Quizzing Students Be Fun? Try this easy theater game!

Is It Really Erin Dealey School visits are back in full force and aside from the fun I have at assemblies, I love encouraging kids (and teachers and librarians!) to play with words. That's what writers do, after all, right? 

Kids always ask me about "Writer's block." which I IMG_1010   rarely get. My theory: whenever we stop playing with words and "get serious" about writing, writer's block happens. By serious I mean worries that the first draft must be perfect (ha!) or that I must follow my novel's plotmap to the T. By playing I mean getting the ideas out–making room for rhymes or ideas or characters who show up on the page unplanned, and plot twists even you didn't see coming. Like I tell students at school visits: This is what sloppy copies areIMG_0986 for!

These days, with required No-child-left-untested State Standards, a lot of the PLAY time gets cut.  And yet when all is said and done, aren't the creative problem solvers, the ones who know how to play with ideas and words and think outside the box, the ones who pave the way?

So–enough talk–here's one of Erin's favorite ways to quiz or review with students (on any topic!)

and teach sentence structure (shhh–don't tell them!) 

AND play with words at the same time:

A variation of a theater game called Dr. Know-It-All. (aka Professor Know-it-All)

Who: 10-12 students (or less) stand in line or semi-circle at the front of the room, facing the rest of the class.

How: Tell the 10-12 students they are now "one brain" and must answer questions on the given topic with a complete sentence, by speaking one word each in turn. When the "brain" has answered in a complete sentence, the last person adds the end mark ( example "Period." or "exclamation mark!")

Sample question (asked by teacher or other members of the class): What ways can you describe a rock?

Sample answer (one word per student, going down the line as many times as needed until the sentence is complete and answer given.): "Rocks can   be   described    as    mineral   or     soft    or  hard or     part   of    the     earth period."   

Students must not only LISTEN to each other (now there's a concept!) but make sure the sentence makes sense and actually answers the question.  

Most important rule: Have fun!IMG_1028  IMG_1004

PS: Thanks to Librarians Lynn Baker (Cambridge Heights) and Julie Korb (Citrus Heights) for the photos!

4 Responses to “How Can Quizzing Students Be Fun? Try this easy theater game!”

  1. Book Chook

    Thanks for reminding me of this activity. I used it in drama and had forgotten how much fun it can be, as well as sneakily having kids learn to co-operate!

  2. Erin

    Yes! Theater games are great fluency builders! I just taught two sessions at the California Reading Association conference last weekend. : )


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