Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to make a stations activity in a hurry

So we've had quite the busy semester so far, but my focus this semester has been to develop interactive/cooperative learning fun stuff for my Math 1 kids. I moved schools last year, and my old school had a department-wide bin of games. There weren't many in it, but it was nice to know at the beginning of the unit that I could take the folder for that topic and instantly have a couple of really good resources to use. I've made it my mission as math department chair at my new school to recreate that setup, with electronic files, interactive notebook pages, and games/stations activities. I currently have 2 milk crates filled with games and activities sorted by topic - I'm going to try to share as many of these as possible.

One of the things I recently started planning was my professional development session this summer on making your secondary classroom more engaging. With the help of a couple of AMAZING coworkers, I'll be presenting sessions on interactive notebooking, using games and centers with secondary students, and how to help students track progress with skill-based assessments (basically, my version of SBG).

As I wrote up the documentation needed for the PD for games, I realized that while I have created plenty of different activities, I don't have electronic versions of very many. The reason for that (as well as the reason I'm willing to create them) is because I can create enough of these types of card games to have a set per group in my class pretty quickly. The reason it's so quick is because I use a test generator or Kuta to print the questions, and then physically cut and tape them onto a pre-made template. 

That's the process I want to share today. 

First, print out a worksheet answer key, test with answers, or KUTA page with answers. Double the number of questions to determine the number of cards you'll need to make.

You'll need the card template (shown is a 12 card template - I've since switched to 9 cards, since they're a bit easier to play with.) Download the card template by clicking here. Print out enough of them for the number of cards you plan to make.  You'll also need scissors and tape. 

Cut out each question and answer separately. No need to worry about keeping anything in order. Don't worry if the edges aren't straight. This is where I love using KUTA worksheets - everything's aligned, and I just cut out the columns then snip it apart. Tape the pieces onto the template, one per box. They don't have be perfectly straight. I also typically lay out a page, then tape them all at once with larger strips of tape, rather than tiny pieces on each box.

I'd like to take a moment here to mention that if you're feeling ambitious, you can cut and paste screenshots of questions/pictures to use, or you could type in the template. I typically don't do that only because it takes 5 times as long to make the same type of game, and it still looks typed and neat when done this way.

Once you've got them taped, now's your opportunity to scan the page to save an electronic copy, or copy it for a neater hard copy. 

Copy your pages onto different colors of cardstock - I use a different color for each set, so if a card goes missing it's easy to figure out where it goes.

Cut apart the blocks by following the guidelines on the template. Using a template without lines around the edge not only saves cutting time, but also ensures that every bit of the page is used - no waste!
I use a large craft cutter from Michaels. Use a 40% off coupon and a teacher discount of 15%, and they're quite reasonably priced! 

Put each set into a snack or sandwich size baggie.

Put all baggies into a gallon size bag labeled with the topic, activity description, and number of sets of cards.

And that's it!
You now have an easy game card set that can be used as a matching activity, go fish, old maid (if you leave one card space blank per set), memory/concentration, etc. This same deck can act as any of those games, and can be reused again and again. 

Here's the scanned copy of the set I made:
  matching linear equations with their graphs

(By the way, if you have ideas for other fun activities/games that you use in your classroom that work across different content areas, please share in the comments section. I'd love to include them in the PD session over summer, so that other teachers can make their classrooms more engaging for their students.)

1 comment:

  1. I've become a screen shot fan because I always neglected to make the digital copy and then it wasn't easy to make other sets. Traditional cut and paste really does save time! Thanks for sharing the card set you made.