Spark Student Motivation - Native American Review Activities

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Next week is our Native American unit test, so we've been busy wrapping things up and reviewing. This week I've been using three different games to help them review.

I Have Who Has
This good ol' game is always a hit with the kids. For those of you who do not know how to play, you create a series of cards that have questions and answers that are linked. One person might have a card that says "Who has a Plains tribe?" The person who goes next has the card that says "I have the Sioux." Then that person reads the question at the bottom of the card that links to the next person.

When we played it this week, I gave each class four opportunities to establish the best time. Between each round, students had to trade so they had a new card so they just weren't memorizing who came before them. After they traded, I gave them a few seconds to read through their new cards and decode any tricky words. The class that had the best time (which we had to discuss was the LOWEST time) won a piece of candy for each student. We also had to incorporate math because I didn't use a timer that counted up. I set the timer for 5:00 and we had to figure out how much time elapsed. So I got to reinforce that when we borrow a minute, we are actually trading for sixty seconds, NOT one hundred. It was pretty funny when we got to the end and I stopped the time. There was a moment of silence while calculations were going on in their brains trying to figure out whether they got to cheer for the new best time or whether they didn't quite make it. It was also interesting to note that the students who always had their noses in other people's business often didn't even know that everyone was waiting for them to read their card because they were sure that someone else had it. I know that others kids noticed that interesting trend, too.

Oh. My. Gosh. This is the first time that I have ever played this game with students. They LOVED it! I know that many of you have done this before with your students, but it was a first for me. I took the same terms from I Have Who Has and taped them to my front wall, spreading them out to cover the whole whiteboard. I divided the class into two teams and gave the first person on each team a flyswatter. I read a clue and they competed to see who could swat the right answer first. I think that the hardest part was keeping the rest of the class from blurting out the answer, so I deducted one point from the team that blurted. I read three clues to each pair before it was the next person's turn. It was fun to see them go crazy when the two kids knew the answer but couldn't find it! If there was enough time, I let each student have two turns, for a total of six swats. And of course, during my last class of the day, my admin comes in to observe the last fifteen minutes.

There was only one issue. In the first pair, one of the students got skunked 3-0 and a student on her team called my game "stupid." So I sent him to the hall to watch from the window. I think that he soon regretting being a bad sport, since it ended in a tie and everyone got a piece of candy. Well, almost everyone... Guess you should think before showing your poor sportsmanship.

Yet another game that's adaptable to any subject area. It's pretty much bingo. Project a list of terms for the kids to copy onto their game boards. I like to make the kids do it instead of giving them preprinted ones. That way I can use a generic game board template for any unit. Read the clues. Five in a row wins. I usually have students raise their hands to share the answers for a few rounds. That helps the lower kids feel that they have a chance. After a few rounds, we no longer raise our hands to share, but I encourage them to whisper and help their neighbors. We keep going until there is a new winner. So if Amy wins the first game and gets a prize, she can still win again (to keep her into the game). If she wins a second time, she still gets a prize, but then a keep that game going until someone new wins. That way the kids are happy for the people that are repeat winners since it really doesn't affect them.

To mix it up, I'll do four corners or have them made certain shapes on their boards (plus sign, X, etc.). If I really feel generous, I'll let them trade boards. If the person playing their board wins, then so do they. That encourages them to trade because they double their chances of winning.

All of these activities for Native Americans will soon be in my {TpT store}. Make sure that you're a follower so you can get notified when they are available.


  1. These are great games for review! I like the term "Wordo" and need to steal that. Students do love review games!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  2. LOTS of fun review games! I use all of them in my class and they are always a hit! I like that you let them whisper the answers to each other for Wordo! Very motivating to review in your class!
    Thanks for sharing and linking up BBB!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. Cute review games! I love using a flyswatter to play review games...I need to pick up some new ones!

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  4. Wordo....great spin on the traditional bingo. I'll add that to my review bag of tricks. Kids seem to really dig review games!

  5. I will be starting a unit on Native Americans this week and will be anxiously awaiting the posting of your product!! :D


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