Are you ready for a little Mind Soccer? Mind Soccer is an academic review game that is a lot of fun! The goal of the game is for kids to work hard at learning in order to get to play the game. **Warning: This game is VERY LOUD!**
How do you play?
Divide your class into two teams. Create a scoreboard on the board. A scoreboard consists of one long horizontal line with vertical lines or "hash marks" evenly spaced throughout. Place your eraser at the center vertical line. This is the soccer ball and it is beginning at mid field. (I am picturing a beautiful SmartNotebook file for this!)
What questions do you use?
Any short answer questions. At the beginning of first grade, they might be something like:
-What is a word that has a /s/ sound at the beginning?
-The /s/ sound at the end?
-What part of speech names a person?
-What do we do to all proper nouns?
-What was the setting of ___ book? Who were the main characters?
-What do all living things have?
You will want to create a long list of 50-60 questions, because this game is very fast-paced.
Each team needs a captain. Flip a coin to see who goes first. Fire questions at the winning team. You want their answers to be loud, fast, and accurate. The louder the answer, the farther the ball is kicked. (Move the eraser toward their goal.) When there is a wrong answer or one that is too slow, yell "steal" and the other team gets the ball.
Students can cheer when their team gets a point and groan when their team doesn't. Can you picture how excited your students will be to play this game? Oh my goodness! Keep the game close, so students stay excited and motivated. There is only one rule to this game: Keep the Ref happy! Love it!
-If you have complaining or eye rolling, you can move the ball closer to the other team's goal as a penalty.
-Use a timer.
-Use as a long term reward on Friday.
-Kids can earn a set of stars on the board. Once they earn a certain number, they get to play.
-"Free Ball" means the question is open to either team.
-Give the students a topic like "plants" and students shout out everything they can with that topic.
-"Shoot Out" means having 5 members from one team go against the team captain of the other team. Whoever is first and right wins.
-Add "Positive Trash Talk"
The possibilities and variations for this game are endless. I am even thinking about getting a button down referee shirt and penalty flag to go with my whistle. For a sample video of Mind Soccer, check out this YouTube clip!
Now, let's move onto the 5 Step Lesson Template. This is a great organizational tool and is very easy to create and use. Follow these simple steps:
1. Ask a question. "What's an author?" Teach-Okay
2. Give an answer with a gesture. "A person who writes a book" (As miming writing) Teach-Okay
3. Expand the answer with details and examples. "Here are some authors we have learned about this year. They can write fiction or nonfiction..." Teach-Okay periodically.
4. Test for comprehension. There are three steps you can use:
-Yes-No Way: Ask a question about a concept. If the answer is "yes," your students answer "yes" and pump one arm. If the answer is no, students touch their head with both hands and say "no way" as they pull them away. "Is an author someone who sings a story?" If 90% of your students answer these questions correctly, move on to QT. If not, reteach.
-QT: Quick Test. When you say, "QT," students cover their eyes with one hand. If the statement you make is true, they give you a thumbs up with the other hand. If the statement is not true, a thumbs down. If 90% get it right, move on. If not, reteach. Make the questions difficult because it is your best measure.
-Prove It! Show students a multiple choice question on a projector. Have students write a statement to prove the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answer is incorrect. This will be a little more challenging the beginning of first grade because students are just learning to write, but it can definitely be done in smaller increments. They can do this on their whiteboards. I have a class set of CPS Clickers that would be perfect for this as well.
5. Employ critical thinking skills (usually writing). This could look a lot of different ways. Students could write a letter to someone, write their own Prove It questions, compare and contrast, etc. These should be open ended tasks."What is alike and different about an author and an illustrator?"