The teacher I learned this idea from swears by it… and I totally see why! It doesn’t take very much effort on the teacher’s part, and it’s an entertaining way for kids to practice vocab! Here’s how it works:
Week Before: Using the week’s vocabulary words, write a few fill-in-the-blank style questions to test student’s vocabulary knowledge. For example, if the vocabulary list included the word “clumsy”, the teacher wrote this sentence: “The _____ girl bumped into the table and broke the vase.” Since the vocabulary list this teacher uses has 10 words on it, she writes 2 fill-in-the-blanks for each word. She says this takes her about 5 minutes a week to type and print these questions. She cuts them up into strips or cards on Microsoft Word and makes a set for each game board (see below). She uses the same game board for an entire season (changing to the next theme/holiday’s game board).
Week Of: When kids are done with an assignment (especially during the literacy block), they can play 5 in a row tic-tac-toe. Her game boards sometimes use a 3 x 3 grid, but when I talked to her, she suggested making 5 x 5 grids so the students have to practice more questions before the game ends. The teacher keeps each set so she can use it next year (their school uses the same vocabulary lists every year for each grade).
The Game Boards: I’ve made 8 game boards for different seasons. I suggest printing each one on different colored card stock so it’s easy to tell which ones go with which season and they will last longer than regular paper. In addition, laminate them if you can.
Click here for the free printable PDFs I made for this activity:
School themed game board
Valentines game board
St Patrick’s game board
Spring game board
Summer game board
Halloween game board
Thanksgiving game board
Winter game board
Here’s what the boards look like: