Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So Many Ways to Use This Game Template!!!

Phonics Baseball I was trying to find a way to teach reading simple CVC words and sight words more engaging and active a few years back. I wrote words on cut out pieces of paper shaped like feet and had students walk as far as they could across the feet while reading the words. The object of that game was to see how many they could read. However, most of the "observers" were bored silly and getting antsy while waiting for their turn. Since many of the boys were just beginning T-ball, I came up with the template above. It also happened to be while the Olympics were happening and many students were watching. They were getting used to hearing a term (DQ), so I began to implement it into this game. I used to draw this out on my whiteboard. 

Now I have an LCD projector and the program KidPix. KidPix is a fabulously interactive drawing/paint program that has so many uses, I'd have to devote a separate entry for it. I draw the above template using thin paint with the program.

Phonics Baseball Rules: 

1)Divide the class into two teams (something you can draw easily and quickly into the bases on the template like my blue square and green triangle). 

2)I choose one player from each team, they stand up and face the back wall, away from the screen. 

3)I tell them that a hush falls over the crowd and if anyone calls out the answer or whispers it, they will be DQ'd and their team can lose a point or for frequent infractions, the player will lose a turn. As soon as the word is read and the next two players are "up to bat" not one word is allowed to be said or I DQ them. This allows for the players to be the only ones making sounds, especially if they need to sound the word out.

4)Depending on what I am working with for that day, (simple CVC words, sight words, digraph words, etc) I write the word in the middle of the baseball diamond. Teammates are encouraged to SILENTLY read the word to themselves (now everyone has something to do). 

5)At the count of 3, the players turn around and see who can read the word first. The first person to correctly read the word advances to first base. For instance, if the blue team gets to first base, I draw a blue square in one of the boxes ( you have to decide which side of the base will be for what team.) On the next round, if the green team wins the word, I put a green triangle on their side of first base so I can concurrently have both teams running around the bases toward home. I love that KidPix has an eraser option. When a team moves from one base to the next, I simply erase their icon out of the base box and then paint them into the next one. As you work with it you can do it with minimal effort. (This can also be done on a whiteboard). 

As each word is read, choose the next two players and erase and write a new word.

6)As each team correctly reads 4 words, they make it to home and I award a tally mark to the scoreboard for them. This activity teaches so many things at once: ordinal numbers, tally marks, adding (and subtracting for DQ's). 

It is extremely important to fairly pair up your players on each side of the room. Don't simply go around the table and let a super fast reader play against someone you know struggles to read. I always spread my students out so I have the same amount of students who struggle on both sides of the room. 

Encourage good sportsmanship at all times. When students are really struggling to read a word, help them sound it out a sound at a time. Be the cheerleader and really encourage the teams to get behind their teammates. Use baseball terminology, "The next two batters at the plate...." If one team scores four in a row, call it a "home run". Remind them that you are the "Team Manager". 

You can use this activity for every single subject you teach. I have used it when teaching math facts, shape recognition, and number recognition for math. I have pasted clip art of famous Americans or landforms to be identified for science and social studies. For older grades, you can use vocab you are going over in any subject or you could simply write a multiplication problem that they should know the answer to. There really is no end to ways you can use this fun game.
The students LOVE this game and as long as you encourage great sportsmanship, be a super cheerleader, and find ways to make the students see how fun learning can be, you can bet this is one game they will constantly ask for!
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