This is the second blog post on using mini whiteboards in the language classroom. In my previous post, Mini whiteboards 1, I talked about using them as a space to view lexical items and build collaborative stories. I also provided a few links with some more creative ideas from other Internet sources.
This time I am looking at mini whiteboards for students to provide and share collective answers in groups. They are very useful tools for games, for instance. Students can pool ideas and then write their answers on their boards and show them simultaneously for everyone to see. This presents two advantages: it saves time, as you don’t have to ask groups, one at a time, for answers and, more importantly, it prevents groups from cheating and using answers from other groups.
A game in particular that can be adjusted and played with mini whiteboards is Scattergories. I am sure that you are familiar with the game. In any case, here is a short video on how to play it.
I will be changing the rules a bit. Instead of providing one letter and a list of 12 categories, students will tackle one letter and one category at a time. Get two hats or two containers of some sort where you can keep a set of cards or pieces of paper. Place cards or pieces of paper with the letters of the alphabet in one hat and cards or pieces of papers with categories in the other one. Find some examples of categories below. You can make your own or simply google: “scattergories categories” and you will find various links leading to them.
- things that are hot
- things that grow
- things that are square
- school supplies
- sports equipment
- breakfast foods
- ice cream flavour
- excuses for being late
- something you are afraid of
So get your students in groups of 3-6, give each group a board and a marker and tell them that you are going to call out a letter and a category. Take one letter from the letters hat and a card from the categories hat (“P” and “things that grow”). Then put both cards back in their respective hats. They will have a few seconds to write one answer on the board. It’s up to you to decide how much time you will be granting (anything from 10 to 20 seconds seems fine to me). When you say, “Time!” they should put the markers down and show the boards with the answers. One point for an answer that has been provided by more than one group and two points for unique answers. Play different rounds. First team to score 10 points wins.
For an added element of challenge and fun, bring on another hat and place these cards in it. Take a card from each of the three hats then.
- double score: two points for shared answers and four points for unique answers.
- two answers: groups must provide two answers on their boards.
- reverse: one point for unique answers and two points for shared answers so that teams will have to try to guess what others will be writing for higher score.
- collocation: they will have to write a word fitting the category starting with the target letter as part of a collocation. For instance, if the category is “things that grow” and the letter is P, they could write things like: chemical plant, potted plant, assembly plant, wild plant, plant species, etc. You will the sole judge of whether their answers can be taken as valid collocations and your decision is final.
- rhyme: they will have to write a word for the category starting with the target letter and a word that rhymes with it. An extra point is given if they can come up with a valid rhyme. For the example above, “plant”, they could write aunt, ant, can’t, implant.