As many of you know, I teach language arts. It could easily be one of those subjects where the students are just sitting and writing. I do everything I can, though, to make it a hands-on subject.
One of my more recent favorite hands-on activities is my Essay Scramble Game.
If you have taught your kids a certain format or formula in order to help them remember elements of their essays (topic sentences, evidence, explanation, etc), this scramble “game” is super fun for them, while also acting as a quick learning check for the teacher.
For this particular activity, I write different essays on silly topics. From the picture, you might be able to see that it’s an essay about the reasons architecture is turning to building materials made of s’mores (chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers). I make up a silly essay because I feel this helps the kids have fun with it while also truly testing their knowledge of the formula. If they can correctly puzzle together an essay about buildings made of marshmallows, I know they understand the formula!
In my classroom, the kids work in small groups of around 4-5 students, and the group that puts the essay in the correct order first wins. And, while I’ve never done this, I love the idea of having the kids write silly essays themselves that I could print and cut apart for them!
Steps for this activity:
- Teach the writing formula you’d like them to use
- Write silly essays
- Print 6-8 copies of essays on card stock
- Cut apart essays and ideally laminate them
- Scramble up the sentences like puzzle pieces
- Put scrambled sentences into zip lock bags
- Play the scramble game!
Using hands-on activities like this in your classroom will help keep your students engaged and truly learning. I also love group activities like this because kids that might be falling behind on the instruction can hear other students teach it in this group setting. I often hear the kids say “no, this puzzle piece goes first because of the transition word!” or “this comes next because it’s the citation for the evidence.” Hearing their reasoning behind it is amazing!
How else are you using hands-on activities like this in your classroom? Comment below!