Sparking Student Motivation: SPARKLE {A Review Game}

My students go nuts for two things:
personal stories about myself and GAMES!
I am a firm believer in making learning
fun, engaging, and exciting. 
When we're preparing for a test, I usually have two options: I can give my students a packet of worksheets and hear them moan and groan, or I can take the same review questions on the worksheet, turn it into a game, and be crowned
"the coolest teacher EVER!" :)

The game I want to highlight today is called 
and I use it to review our weekly Spelling words and Bible verse.

Here's how it works:
  1. The class forms a circle, standing around the classroom.
  2. I say a spelling word.
  3. The first student says the first letter of the word.
  4. The next in line says the second letter. 
  5. The student next in line says the third letter. This continues until all letters of the list word have been spoken.
  6. The student in line AFTER the last letter, then says "SPARKLE"
  7. The next student in line is OUT, and returns to his seat.
  8. I give a new word and the process continues. 
*Anytime a student says the wrong letter, he is out and returns to his seat. The next student says the correct letter and the game continues.

It may sound a little complicated, but it is very simple and the kids pick up on it quickly.

Here's an example:
Abby, Bobby, Cyndy, Dave, Earl, Fred, Greg, and Hannah
are in a circle.
I say the spelling word: "Tiger"
Abby: T
Bobby: I
Cyndy: G
Dave: E
Earl: R
Fred: Sparkle!
Greg sits down. 
Hannah starts the next word.

This is an easy game to review words; and because it is so quick, all students are active and multiple games can be played in a short time span.

To review our Bible verse, the first student says the reference and then the students say one word at a time around the circle. When the verse is finished, the next students says "Sparkle" and then the following student sits down. We go around and around again until two students battle it out to the end :)

It's a basic game that involves both skill and luck. Some of my best spellers get "sparkled" and have to sit down early in the game. It allows some of my students who don't normally excel on academic games/challenges to have a chance at recognition.

How do you engage your students and motivate them to participate and put forth effort? Link up your ideas with my bud, Joanne, from "Head Over Heels for Teaching"
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