Monday, October 3, 2011

Picture This!

This past weekend I stopped by the thrift store and found some kids' board games, in very good condition, for only 99 cents each. =) They'll be nice to have in the classroom for indoor recess days.

One of the games I purchased was Pictionary Junior. Perusing the box to see what pieces were present or missing, I had an idea. It would be very easy to adapt Pictionary into a review game. All you would need to do is make custom Pictionary cards listing vocabulary from the lesson. While this is something the teacher could do, this could also be a good enrichment assignment for gifted students.  The students would be instructed to skim the text and select key words, to make the Pictionary cards.  I could see this visual-kinesthetic activity being especially valuable for reviewing science terminology, such as "nucleus," "solar system," "invertebrate," etc. 

Using Pictionary in the classroom reminds me of another "Picture This!" activity. Back when I was in twelfth grade, one day my English teacher, Mrs. M--, assigned each of us seniors one word from our vocabulary list to illustrate and show in class the following day. That next day Mrs. M-- numbered and posted our pictures around the room. When we entered the classroom, we were each given a blank numbered list. Viewing the illustrations, we wrote out the corresponding vocabulary word on our lists. It was such an interactive and memorable way to study our vocabulary! Ten years later, I still remember putting a lot of thought into visually describing my assigned word, as well as appreciating my classmates' interpretations of the other words. In my mind's eye, I can still see taped on the chalkboard the pencil-drawing of a harp sitting on a grassy hilltop with music notes floating in the air, to illustrate zephyr.

Most children seem to enjoy drawing. Why not capitalize their artistic interests to help them increase their motivation, comprehension, and memory of content-area vocabulary?

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