Game 1: Jeopardy

I know it’s common, but the Jepoardy-style game is a fantastic one for reviewing information (or seeing how much the class knows about new information). A number of reasons for my use of this game are detailed below.

(1) Of course, kids love technology and they love games. This makes the Jeopardygame a “two-fer.” I would recommend downloading a game board that you like using a Google search. Some are very much like the game show while others are a bit simpler; however, any PowerPoint or Keynote game board will suffice.

Plus, the interactive quality of these downloadable and adjustable game boards allows you flexibility while the kids see some action on the projected screen. Sometimes I even have a student act as the host.

(2) Any game which allows for student choice is a winner in my book. The kids can choose categories and even the difficulty of the question. When I wanted to review mythology with my seniors, I used the following categories with question values from 100 to 500 points each: Roman God Names, Greek God Names, Monsters, Heroes, Love Myths, and The Trojan War.

Since the kids choose the categories and the difficulty level of the question, they felt like they had some control and could answer freely without embarrassment.

(3) I save the games for later use. I have between 10 and 15 different games ready to go for a few of my classes. This flexibility allows me to re-use categories or entire games. Sometimes I have classes interested in seeing what kinds of things they will study in a particular course, and I bring up one of these games and show them some of the categories, questions, and game boards. It’s a good, quick preview.

(4) I don’t have the kids truly compete with one another. Since there are 9,000 points possible on the game board, I set a class-wide score goal of 4,500 points, 5,000 points, or 6,000 points. If they reach it I provide everyone with some sort of prize.

Since we are playing as a class and I want everyone to participate, I draw a name to start the game and that student gets the first pick. After he/she picks and answers (with no help from others), I have the next student pick and we go around the room this way until all of the questions have been selected and answered. The goal is to score as many points as possible as a class.

(5) I can modify the game as I see fit.

Sometimes with my classes, especially my lower level classes, I allow them to “phone a friend” in the room for half of the points. This way a student who does not know an answer can get assistance and not have to worry about losing all of the class’ points for that question. My students have loved this option!

Also, I can provide a helpful hint if I want. Sometimes a student just needs to be nudged in the right direction, and I can make this happen.

Unlike the actual show host on  Jeopardy, I can declare that students don’t lose points for wrong answers in order to lessen the anxiety. Sometimes I state that 500 point questions will not count against the class’ total score. Sometimes I don’t. It all just depends on how the kids are doing and what needs to happen to move things along without friction.

(6) I have my students keep paper and pencil handy in case they wish to write anything down for future reference. Since I generally use these games as reviews, I want the kids to learn something or be reminded of things and writing down what was once unknown is a stress-free method of having notes to study. Plus, my wording is on the screen, so the kids don’t have to guess about language or descriptions.

Overall, though, these are my basic tips and uses of the Jeopardy-style game in my classroom.

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