I am always on the lookout for classroom activities. I teach 8th grade, and there is a delicate balance of something that is educational yet still fun for them yet not too crazy. My favorite is when they think we’re playing a game, but we’re really learning. At my mentor training earlier this week, the instructors modeled an activity for getting kids to swap ideas that I modified for use in my classroom. I think I achieved the aforementioned balance, so I thought I’d share the activity here. Are any teachers reading? I wonder if any students are…if you are in the pictures below, sorry for slapping a smiley face on your head. 😉
I started off by putting a painting on my screen. I love using paintings, photography, and other forms of art as a launch for descriptive writing. Cross-curricular, you know? I usually talk about who the artist was, what type of painting it is, etc. This part of the lesson makes me wish I’d paid more attention in my college art class. It also makes me very thankful for Google images.
In three of the boxes, I instructed the students to write a sentence containing figurative language to describe the painting. We have been reviewing similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, alliteration, and personification this week. They had to use three different types of figurative language.
All good activities have a reward of some type, so during the last 5-10 minutes of class, those who had all sixteen squares filled played bingo. This is where I used the ones I’d copied down–I read them, they marked them off on their bingo card (paper), and then I asked random students which type of figurative language the sentence contained. If the students answered correctly, they got a little star award. Long story on what those are…maybe I’ll explain sometime. Once someone got bingo, I had another student be the caller and read sentences from their card, and repeated until we ran out of time. Once again, those who hadn’t kept up with the pace of the class weren’t able to play bingo. There was some quick copying at the last minute when they realized what was going on, and I’m okay with that. They were still copying sentences with figurative language.
My students were, for the most part, very engaged in the activity, and almost all of the sentences were, in fact, examples of figurative language. They were able to write down sixteen different examples for one image, and they were able to hear many more. They were rewarded for keeping on track with the group. And, their favorite part: there was no homework.
This could so easily be modified for other subjects. Students could write facts about the Civil War or a elements from the periodic table or favorite authors or…the possibilities are endless.