My students love to talk. I do, too, so I can’t blame them. I remember myself as a 5th grader, even, and remember that the thing I got in trouble for most often was talking when it was somebody else’s turn. So whenever I can, I try to give them opportunities to talk while we’re learning. Partly so that they won’t fill in the space with talk about non-learning things, but also because learning is a social thing; talking is part of how you make meaning.
So frequently we play a game called Talk-a-Mile-a-Minute. It’s a vocabulary game, and can be used in any subject, with any set of words. I think I introduced it in math (because there is a TON of vocabulary there!), but we have also played it with science and social studies terms. Today we played it with new terms from our Ancient West Africa unit in social studies. It’s fun, they can talk and be active, and they learn something.
Here’s how it works:
Kids choose a partner to work with. Partners sit “eye-to-eye, knee-to-knee” in front of the ActivBoard. The person with their back to the board is the guesser, and the person who can see the board is the describer. I put up a screen with words they should know (or that they are working on), and the describer has one minute to get the guesser to say all of them. The first time we played it, we did several practice rounds, and instead of words there were pictures, like this:
The goal is to be as descriptive as you can, without saying what the word starts with or rhymes with.
The first round was pretty easy, so then we tried it with words:
Here are some terms we used yesterday in math:
And here’s today’s version for Social Studies:
How well do you know these words? Play with your child and see how it goes!