This game is also a new addition to my collection. I have tried it 4 times so far with my middle school students and it has been very popular. I learned about it from my Spanish colleague, Joan Conner who used it successfully with her class. Multas Gratias! It is a great warm-up for a long block (80 minutes or more) or simply a great activity on its own when students simply can't sit any more.
Ridiculously simple - always a a feature for me. You take about 20 pieces of 8x10 pieces of paper and write phrases on them that you want your students to become more familiar with. You can of course just write words but I think phrases work better. Here's a sample of some phrases I recently used. These are phrases based on Chapter 14 in Ecce Romani but of course any phrases will work. If you have a more concrete vocabulary list, you can make pictures instead of Latin phrases. This of course will take longer but ultimately is better for acquisition.
There should be at least one paper with a different phrase for each student. I would suggest making at least five extra. The second thing you need is a pool noodle or some other soft instrument a student use to "bop" or "tuxtax" someone's desk. Pool noodles are perfect because they are about 4 feet in length, make a satisfying thwack when they hit a desk but are completely non injurious. Having no pool noodle, I bought a piece of pipe insulation about the same length as the pool noodle. Works just as well and was less than $2.00 to purchase. Sweet.
How To Play:
Instruct the students to put their desks in a circle. There should be about 4 feet from the center of the circle to the desk. This isn't crucial but whoever is in the center should be able to get to reach the desks in one or two steps. Make sure that students are spread evenly around the circle. Now hand out the pieces of paper with the phrases on them. it's a good idea to have students pass the papers around making sure that everyone can read all of them. Instruct the students to hold up their paper with the words facing into the circle. Now find a volunteer to stand in the center of the circle with the pool noodle. You as a teacher yell out one of the phrases. Perhaps if you are using my set, you might yell, "Don't turn." If you have pictures instead of Latin phrases, the student would yell out the Latin for the picture. For example, you might have a picture of girls running, you would yell out, "Puellae currunt."
Now the person with the noodle has to look around the circle and identify the picture or phrase that was just called out and go over and smack the desk of the person holding that paper. The student holding the paper whose phrase was just called out has to call out another phrase in the circle. If he or she succeeds in calling out one of the phrases before the person with the noodle smacks their desk, then the noodle person has to now find that phrase. Of course, if the noodle person smacks their desk first, now that person is in the center and the person with the noodle takes their place in the circle. Play continues like this for about 20-30 minutes.
Tips to Make this Game Work:
This game is one of those that students will remember for the rest of their lives. I have been doing it for 20 years with students in grades 6-12 and it has always been a huge hit. With poor classroom management, it can be a huge headache due to the excitement it creates. Use this activity sparingly- on a special day, possibly the day before vacation when quiet and order is not generally expected.
To play this activity, you need approximately 20 sentences, or grammatical problems you want students to read or solve. They should be fairly difficult but not impossible. You also need a pile of costumes or crazy clothes. As an ex- drama teacher, I have these in abundance. They don't have to be full costumes and in fact it works better if they aren't. You need scarves, aprons, jackets, crazy glasses, skirts - pretty much anything weird and/or sparkly will do.
The procedure is fairly simple. Arrange the class in a circle so that everyone can see everyone else Hand out the sheet that has the 20 sentences or questions on it. Students will need pencil and paper or white boards. Have students write the answer to your first question -translate this sentence, write ambulare in the first person, imperfect tense. It really doesn't matter. Students then hold up their answers and everyone who got the answer wrong has to wear a piece of clothing from your costume pile. After everyone is dressed, repeat. The winner is the student wearing the least amount of clothes at the end. That's why its called UNstrip grammar. Its about putting on clothes NOT taking them off. Get it?
This game is one that you can guarantee will NOT be played in any other class. Students will talk about it for the rest of the year. "Remember when Malcolm wore...." Part of my goal has always been to make my class memorable even legendary. News of this game will spread far and wide. It's a seed being planted in those hearing the stories. You mean there are monsters AND costumes in Latin?? Hmm.. Maybe I should take Latin.
Tips to Make this Activity Work