Trick quiz/game

Ben Slavic and company have been sharing an idea about a Trick Quiz or something similarly named. Corinne Bourne added a twist that I tried to emulate. I think I failed to correctly copy what she did, but I certainly got kids in a lather playing the game. Even kids who never talk were bursting out in full sentences.

As far as I understand, this idea started from giving quizzes. If a kid wants to justify an “incorrect” answer, he can do so. If the teacher or the class accepts it, the answer is correct.

The game is when the teacher makes statements about a reading. I say, for instance, “Shrek planned to take his vacation in the swamp.” A kid says, “No! Shrek planned to take his vacation in the jungle.” Then I have to follow up with a change or addition to my original statement.

We elected a mediator. The mediator judges whether either “team” loses a point because they paused too long, repeated something that’s already written in the reading or been said without adding interest, or whether they gain a point for a great response.

Do I need to tell you that the class (team 1) beat me (team 2) every time? I had to work pretty hard to keep ahead of them, and I tried hard not to play for very long. They loved it. The structures we were repeating were right there in the reading, and they didn’t mind repeating them for roughly ever. Darn!

Admission: I was worn out after about fifteen minutes. This is not a game for a slow-thinking teacher.

If you want to read the specifics of this game, you’ll probably need to buy Ben’s latest book or join his blog. I’ll keep letting you know if I figure out how to tweak it more.


8 responses to “Trick quiz/game

  1. Hi MJ, the quiz sounds a lot of fun, but I was wanting to ask for help please. In the past you have written about not teaching similar words at the same time as it leads to unnecessary confusion and I am sure one of your fellow blogger wrote a great post of this topic. If you can recall and post a link here I would really appreciate it as I think it relates just as strongly to the teaching of spelling. With thanks, Megan


    • I’m afraid I don’t know where such a link might be. I hope someone will chime in here and answer this question. I agree. It’s really true, and makes kids feel unsteady to learn similar-sounding vocabulary at the same time.


  2. Please do clarify more. I am not understanding how this worked but would love to have kids speaking more! Almost the end of the school year now and anything that’s newish and engaging is delightful! I want to help my kids feel more comfortable speaking!!!


  3. Evidently Ben’s group tried giving a quiz, and if a kid got the answer wrong, she could “justify” it by explaining (orally?) why it was actually the right answer. Corinne Bourne changed it into a game.

    So, I explained to the kids that there were two teams: M. Whaley and the class. If I read a sentence from the text we were studying, I would either just read it straight or make a change. They were allowed to either change it back to the original text (which they never did) or to tweak it some more.

    I would then answer with an additional tweak.

    Then they would keep going.

    Whoever paused too long in thought lost the point. Whoever had an idea that the mediator liked a lot could win the point.

    Show this post to the kids, and they will help!

    (Sorry…out of school for a sick parent. I will bribe my kids to let me video this when I get back. It’s very successful.)


  4. Thanks, and I hope things improve for your parent. Appreciate you as always. :>)


  5. Are you O.K.? I miss you. Wishing you love and light!


    • Hi Ruth!

      I’m so sorry…I’m in Latvia. I would write, but the way I wear my heart on my sleeve, I might say something that could be misinterpreted.

      Mostly, I can say that I am finding once again that CI/TPRS really works better than the other philosophies of language acquisition. When I see CI happening in these classrooms, I see the students light up and forget what they’re doing. Anything else feels rigorous, and like they’re learning a lot.

      I’ll be back. I promise. Hugs!



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