The below compiled list of games are ones that I use when reading novels with my students. They are games that I use after reading the text and after discussing the chapter, several chapters, or an entire novel. (However, most of these games can be used in other contexts and subject matters.)
The games are divided into 3 categories: no prep, low prep, and games with questions.
No Prep Games
1. The Copier
Set-up: Divide students into 2 or 3 groups. It is better to have groups of 6 or more than to have small groups. Each student needs a white board and a marker.
Without using the novel, the group decides on a sentence to write about what happened in the chapter(s). I require that the sentences have a minimum of 6 words. All group members must write the EXACT same sentence. They must work together to check the sentences that their teammates wrote to make sure it is an exact duplicate - spelling and accents should be identical.
When all students in the group have a sentence written, they raise their marker board and the teacher reads each marker board. If all the boards are correct and identical, the group earns a point for their team. They then erase the boards and start working on another sentence.
If a member of the team has an error in the sentence, the teacher continues to look at the other boards (so the group doesn't know on which board the teacher saw the error), and tells the group there is a problem that needs corrected. Team members need to check their boards again in an effort to find the sentence that isn't identical.
Students can search for the error(s) or they can erase the sentence and restart with a completely new sentence.
If the group has a correct sentence, the teacher writes the sentence on the board for other groups to see it. The groups are NOT permitted to use the same verb in subsequent sentences.
The group with the most points at the end of the allotted time is the winner.
Promote teamwork by telling students that it is the group's responsibility to check ALL the sentences in their group. If someone's board is not identical, it is not the student's fault but the group's for not finding it together.
Low Prep Games
2. Find It!
Set-up: The teacher chooses several sentences from the chapter(s) that can be acted out or that can be drawn on the board and prepares a document with the sentences.
Assign teams; 2 or 3 to a team is best. Each team will need a marker board and a marker. Choose a student or ask for a volunteer to be the all-time actor or all-time artist.
The student volunteer reads the first sentence and then either acts out the sentence or sketches it on the board. Students search for the sentence in the novel that is being depicted and write it on their group's marker board. Since the sentences tend to be long, I tell the students to write the first X number of words of the sentences. The team that is first to write the correct sentence earns a point.
This game requires the students to re-read sentences in the novel in order to find the sentence that the student volunteer drew or acted out.
Option: The teacher can call on groups to give the answer verbally instead of the students writing the sentence.
3. Scrambled Sentences
Set-up: The teacher pulls sentences directly from the chapter(s) and jumbles them. The jumbled sentences are put onto a powerpoint, 1 sentence per slide. Try the website Scramblinator to make this task easy; copy and paste sentences from the site onto Powerpoint. Cut typing paper lengthwise in several slips on which students will write sentences.
Students work with a partner.
Project the first scrambled sentence on the board. Students unscramble the sentence and earn a point for a correct sentence. As additional sentences are unscrambled, students should put their strips with the written sentences in the correct chronological order.
If you want the students to not rush when they are writing, give points for all the teams that correctly unscramble the sentence and not only to the first group to complete it.
For added review of the chapter(s), after all the sentences are ordered, ask students what event(s) happened in between the first and second sentence and discuss their answers.
4. Salad Bowl
Set-up: The teacher selects words from the chapter(s) and writes them on index cards or slips of paper. Students sit in a circle with the teams being every other person in the circle on one team and the others on the second team.
This game is explained HERE, but it is labeled as "3 Rounds". Since writing the post, I discovered that many call this game "Salad Bowl". In the blog post, we played the game with Verba cards, but it can easily be adapted to be used with novels.
5. Marker Partner Game - The teacher will copy sentences from the chapter(s), but for half of the sentences, change one or two words to make the statement false. Find instructions HERE.
Games with Teacher-prepared Questions
All of these games are based on questions that the teacher writes with information from the novels.
6. Novel Bingo
Set-Up: The teacher prepares the questions and creates a document for the students with the answers ONLY. Copy BINGO cards. The students write the answers on a BINGO card. If the teacher posts the list of answers online or distributes copies of the document, the students can complete this for homework so as not to take class time for this.
The teacher reads the questions/clues and the students put BINGO chips on their BINGO card for the answers to the questions.
Below is the first page of a document for Novel BINGO for the TPRS Publishing novel, La guerra sucia. If you are interested in the full document, you can find it HERE.
|Page 1 of 2 for Novel Bingo|
Set-Up: Divide students into two teams. Draw a baseball diamond on the board. Determine which questions are worth the value of "single", "double", and "triple".
Play; Students answer questions correctly to advance around the bases and score "runs" for their team. Check THIS POST for details.
8. Running Crossword Puzzle
Set-Up: The teacher uses the prepared questions/clues to create a crossword puzzle. Make several copies of the crossword puzzle clues and place them around the room OR in the hall. Students should work in groups of 2 or 3. Give each group the blank crossword puzzle without the clues.
Play: One student is named the Writer. S/he must stay at his/her seat or desk and is not permitted to read the clues. The other student (or other 2 student if playing on teams of 3) will walk (quickly) to the clues, read them, and return to the writer with the answer. If the student read the clue but doesn't know the answer, the student can tell the clue to the writer and together they can try to figure out the answer.
Note: This is similar to running dictations described HERE. ESL teachers have used this activity for years! I do not remember which teacher suggested to use a crossword puzzle instead of a dictation. If you know who it was, please let me know so I can credit him/her with the idea!
There can be multiple winners or the winning team can be the one that finishes first or correctly finishes the most clues in the allotted time. I like to stop the game before any of the groups finishes the crossword puzzle in order to not have students sitting around waiting for the others to finish.
9. Bazinga! - described HERE.
10. Grudgeball - described HERE. Since this game may rally the competitive spirit a little more than what you bargained for, I suggest that you read Martina Bex's suggestions on THIS BLOG POST to prepare students before they play this game.
Set-Up: Divide students into 2 or 3 teams. Place two chairs in the front of the room with a marker board, marker, and eraser.
Play: The teacher asks one of the prepared questions. Students that know the answer stand up, or students that don't know the answer but want to "bluff" and act as if they knew the answer and possibly earn more points for their team can also stand up.
The teacher marks on the board how many from each team are standing. That is the number of points each team will earn if the student chosen to answer can correctly answer the question, OR the number of points deducted from their score if the student answers incorrectly.
In this example, we will say that there are 2 teams playing - teams A and B. The teacher chooses a student from Team A to choose a student from Team B to answer. The student chosen from Team B is the one that selects a student from Team A to answer. The two students go to the front of the classroom where there is a marker board for each of them and they write their answer, without any help from their team.
The students reveal their answers when the teacher signals them to do so. If the student answered correctly, the teacher adds the points to their score, or subtracts points if the student answered incorrectly. (The number of students that stood on their team indicating that they knew the answer is the number of points earned or deducted.)
The winning team is the one that has the most points after all the questions are asked or after the pre-determined time.
After the question is read and students are standing up, I insist on complete silence so students do not share the answer with their team members.
You may need to make a rule that keeps students from choosing the same person.
Make sure to include some very simple questions so everyone has a chance to participate in the game.
If you don't want negative points, you can make a rule that says "0" is the lowest score allowed.
Set-Up: Divide students in two teams. Put a small rubber ball on the middle of a student desk or table. Put an empty waste can, with a clean liner, in front of the room. Put tape on the floor to mark 3 lines with the closet line worth 1 point, the second closest line 3 points, and the last line 5 points (or whatever point values you want).
One student from each team stands at the table with their hands behind their back. The teacher reads a question. The first student to grab the ball is the one that answers the questions. If he answers correctly, he earns a point for his team and then chooses from which line he wants to attempt to throw the ball into the waste can to earn additional points for his team.
If the student answers incorrectly, the other student has an opportunity to answer with the same options if he answers correctly.
If both students do not know from the start, one of them can grab the ball and forfeit his chance to answer, passing to the other student to answer. If the 2nd student can't answer, the question goes back to the first team and this time the team can help him answer. This eliminates the problem is none of the students know the answer because they can still earn points for their team.
This game is one of my students' favorites. Many times the students that are not on athletic teams score more points from throwing the ball than the athletes.
Good 'ol Standbys:
13. Jeopardy - Use an online template such as the one at JeopardyLabs.com to create your Jeopardy board.
14. Kahoot or Quizzizz. When Kahoot first came out, I shared it with members of my department only because I knew that eventually other departments would learn about it and soon the students would be playing Kahoot in every class. That happened about 6 months after I started using it in class, and because of this, I am careful to limit it's use in my class even more than usual. Quizzizz is similar but the students work at their own pace.
If you have additional games to be added that you use with novels, feel free to email me or leave a comment below.