Friday, October 14, 2011

The Week Ending October 14th: Quick and Easy Match-Up Games

If you have read any of my posts, you know that I like games and activities that are quick and easy--and inexpensive. This activity is a variation on an old favorite--and it meets all of those requirements...

For our vocabulary study this week, I wrote each word on one half of a paper plate and the definition on the other half.  I made sure the "half-plates" were well-shuffled and then passed them out face-down.

I asked the students to guess how long it would take for each plate to find its partner.  After settling on a reasonable time (a bit inflated, mind you), I set the timer.  The goal is for everyone to find their match before the time runs out.  This encourages teamwork instead of competition.  By agreeing that those who are finished can help the "unmatched" find their partners, there is more involvement throughout the game--and more exposure to the words.

Once everyone has found their match, we stop the timer.  By challenging them to beat that time, you can usually squeeze in a few more rounds of practice.  I am always amazed when they clamor, "Can we play again?  Just one more tiiiimmmmeee?"

I often have students in my classroom who are not able to participate fully in the core curriculum, but are a part of our classroom and need a way to participate.  For these students, I make a notch in the plate so they are looking for a "puzzle piece" match instead of a content match.  With this support, they can participate with their peers. For those with more significant struggles, I may also outline the plate middle in a color.  Yellow works best because it is not as obvious to the student who has the other side of the plate and is looking for a content match.

There are a hundred (or more!) adaptations:  antonyms/synonyms, math facts, even my beloved algebra!

Don't you have some aging paper plates in the back of your cupboard?  A quick activity for Monday may be easily within your reach!

Have a great weekend!  Head on back to the party at Clutter-Free Classroom !


  1. How fun, Kim . . . makes me want to go back into the classroom again! We used a similar activity with our staff a few years back when I took cliche sayings and wrote them on index cards before I cut them apart . . . participants had to find the other half of their quote to find their buddy for the activity we were planning.

  2. Love this idea Kim. I'll be "borrowing" it.
    I'm still in shock over the number of students that you have. I never had 32 in one class.
    Hope you get to relax a little this weekend.
    Marcia :)

  3. What a great idea! I am always looking for new things to do with vocabulary words in my classroom. This will be perfect for my kiddos. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

  4. Love this idea!! I'm your newest follower as well as a student teacher in a 6th grade classroom in MD; I can't wait to keep reading about your 6th grade adventures!

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh my goodness! I usually try to respond individually, but you were too quick for me!

    Hi Barbara! I love the buddy find you talked about... that has great potential for finding partners for class activities too!

    Hi Marcia! Borrow away! I have 34 6th graders this year--but two years ago I had 37! It's not as bad as having 40 : )

    Hi Denise! I'm glad you stopped by!

    Hi Katie! I'm so glad you were here. I always love when you visit!

    Hi Maggie! I'm glad you dropped in. I think sixth grade is the very BEST grade. I hope you come back soon!

    Thanks for the nice comments, BlogFriends!


  6. Great idea! I can see using this for vocabulary and grammar many possibilities! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Hi Tara!
    Oh... grammar! That's one I didn't think of! Matching parts of speech, perhaps?! Good one!
    Thanks for checking in!


  8. Love this idea!! I know I have paper plates laying around somewhere... I almost think you can use this activity to get kids into partner groups too. Whoever has the other half of their plate is their partner for the next assignment...

  9. Hi Mor!
    Thanks for organizing our Middle School BlogFest! We are making lots of connections!

    And LIMS:
    I agree! Paper plate halves would work great for partnering up!
    Glad you stopped by!



Thanks for reading this post. Comments bring me JOY! Please share your thoughts and join the conversation...