Sparking Student Motivation: SILENT BALL!

Hello friends! 
Long time no blog :)
It was one of those hectic weeks.
Enough said.

Today I'm linking up with my bud, Joanne, from
"Head Over Heels for Teaching" to share an idea that MOTIVATED my kiddos this week :)
This is actually an idea that our P.E. teacher came up with last year during standardized testing. She wanted to give the students a brain break, but the school was technically in a "quiet zone," so she had to get creative. Thus SILENT BALL was born! :)
Here's how it works:
The students sit on their desks. 
{Yes, ON - because is there anything more exciting for a 10-year-old? I think not.}
One student gets the ball and has to say the name of one specific student and throw him/her the ball. If the students throws it incorrectly (with no way the catcher can catch it), the thrower is out (and sits in his chair). If it is a good throw, but the catcher doesn't catch it (and hold on to it), then the catcher is out.
And, one more important rule:
Everyone is SILENT!
If you speak, you're automatically out.
And the students are very strict :)
Sorry for the blurriness - these were obviously action shots :)

Now, I first played this game this week with my small group of kiddos who do not go to band (we have 45 minutes at the end of each day). But the next day the rest of my class (naturally) clamored to play.

So, I decided to put a little educational spin on the game...
We needed to review for our reading vocabulary test, so we got in our Silent Ball positions and the review game began! I would read a definition and a student would throw the ball to someone. If the student caught the ball, they would say the word I had just defined. If they didn't catch it or couldn't tell me the word, they were out. The rest of the kiddos sat silently, waiting for their turn. We played this until all of our words had been defined. It was eye opening for the students (and for their teacher!) who had studied for the test and who hadn't!

The possibilities are endless: you could do this with math facts, spelling words, or any history or science topic that you have defined questions for. The teacher could ask the questions or you could let the students ask them, depending on the subject and the group of students you have.

Well that's a little glimpse into my world this week,
trying to make learning (and retaining information) fun for my 5th graders :)

Hop on over to Joanne's blog to see more motivating ideas!
Head Over Heels for Teaching


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