Hidden Words

Children playing hide and seek

Writing down notes can be a tedious venture, especially when one is a seventh grade student.  Whenever I have students copy notes in class, I do my best to mix up the activities so the students are exposed to novelty and relieved from a stationary note-taking position.  Last week we were exploring different terms associated with setting.  Students keep an interactive notebook, so it was necessary for them to have the terms accessible in their notebooks.  Rather than simply show the students the terms in a power point presentation and have them copy the terms down, I developed an activity similar to what I’ve always called Hot Tamale (although I have no idea if that is the real name of the game).  I asked for two volunteers to go into the hallway.  The role of one of the volunteers was to make sure the other was not standing by the door or peeking into the classroom.  While the students were in the hall, I took a piece of paper with a setting term and hid it in the classroom.  I put it behind the interactive whiteboard, so all students in the class could see where I hid it and to make it easily accessible to the students who would enter the classroom.  I then had the class stand up and push their chairs in.  I introduced a power-walking arm motion and had them practice the motion slowly and quickly.  I instructed them that when x student entered the classroom, they should start the motion without making any other noises.  As x moved closer to the hidden term, their motions needed to become faster.  When x moved away, their motions became slower.  I then had x enter the classroom.  After about a minute or two, x was able to find the term.  I showed the term to all students and they copied the term in their notebooks.  I repeated the activity with new student volunteers about three times. The students were really excited to participate, so they eagerly would write down key terms without typical groans and boredom that often is equated with note-taking.  The activity could take as long as the teacher would want it to.  To speed the activity up, the motions could be more dramatic to the point where the students are not moving until x is right next to the hidden term.  Of course, it is important to discuss the terms during the activity or after the activity, so students can begin to understand the purpose behind the introduction of the terms.

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3 thoughts on “Hidden Words

  1. Great idea, and I agree when you say it could take as long as the teacher wants it to– Sure, getting your students to copy the words in their books might take 2 minutes, but we can almost certainly say they wouldn’t remember them in the long term. Hopefully ideas like you mentioned, along with the follow-up discussion you said was important, mean retention has been maximised due to the engaging way the students interacted with the terms! Plus I’m sure kids like ‘x’ will definately be able to recall what word it was that they had to find!

    • Thanks for the reply! Even though the activity may take longer, I do believe that since students are more engaged, they will have a better chance at retaining the information. I think it would be a great study to conduct in the future.

  2. Great ideas, I really like the emphasis on motion. We are both seeking better ways to develop engagement in the classroom. Out of curiousity what do mean by an interactive notebook? Is it on a tablet or other similar device? By the way, thanks for reading my blog and liking a post.

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