Thursday, January 26, 2017

Resources & Variants: Surrender On Six

Salvēte omnēs!

Today's post introduces an ongoing series that I think many in the blogging community will appreciate. I'm calling it 'Resources & Variants', or 'R&V' for short. These posts will take another look at an activity or idea that can be found on someone else's blog and offer up something to make it easier for a teacher to implement in their classroom (resources), and provide options to help fit the activity with your class or help keep things interesting when returning to the activity over and over (variants).

So, the awesome activity on the docket today is 'Surrender on Six', which Keith Toda learned from  two other teachers at his school, including Pomegranate Beginnings' Miriam Patrick. If you aren't familiar with it or want a refresh, here's Keith's original post:

The resources I have to share with you are pretty simple, but anything helps, right? The first one is for students to use, and the second is for you as the teacher to set up the activity effectively.

First, if your students have access to technology, you can have them 'roll the die' using this handy feature from I am fortunate that my students have access to laptops every day, and I like using this type of rolling for the activity, for a few reasons:

  1. It makes easier for me to supervise - you can read the roll from across the room instead of having to be perched over the top of a group's table. 
  2. It prevents students from doing things with the die that you'd rather they not do. Things like try to cheat the roll, keep it away from another student, roll it onto the floor each time, etc. Manipulatives are great, but experienced teachers know that sometimes they can cause issues that aren't really worth it. In my opinion, this is one of those times.
  3. You can assign responsible students to be the 'roller' who clicks the button each time. Each group will need 2 'rollers', a primary and a backup (for when the primary is busying writing!) A single person clicking goes much quicker than a group of people rolling a physical die, so it really speeds things up!
Next up:
Follow this link to get a template for creating the answer sheets students use during the activity. Hopefully the directions below will help you print them easily! 😄

First, highlight all the cells on the sheet:

Now click File > Print.

Set your Print Settings like this:
  • Options: Selection
  • Layout: Actual Size & Landscape
  • None of the boxes checked

Then click the blue Print button on the lower left (highlighted in red).

Now you've got a screen that looks like this:

You should see something that has a page break (like where the orange arrow points).

Check the box for 'Two-sided'.

Click the blue Print button at the top.

This will print out double-sided sheets with your entire answer document. Yeah!

I've included 3 styles of answer sheet. You can choose the one you want using the tabs at the bottom:

  1. A simple vocabulary-only template. 
  2. A template to play 'sentence-style' as Keith describes as his post-reading CI-variant. 
  3. A template with an in-line place to keep track of points. I use this one for a variant on Keith's variant. Variant, you say? Sure! Let's move on to that section of the post, where you can find little twists to keep your students on their toes. 


Bonus Point Scoring Variant:
This is the slight twist on Keith's CI variant, where each word in a sentence is worth a point. I created it as an incentive for students to try entire sentences and as a way to add bonus points to the activity, since everyone loves bonus points more than regular points. 😋 Each word in a sentence is still worth 1 point, but a complete sentence is worth a bonus point! 

Rainbow Rounds:
I really like to do this format. I will set a timer for a period of 7 to 10 mintues and the students compete using a specific colored marker. I have a pretty substantial number and variety of Sharpies in my classroom, including more fine and ultra fine tips than any one person should own, so I will hand a red marker to each team for the first round, the 'Red Round'. The second round could be 'Orange Round', etc. Using this format, we can usually play 3 to 4 rounds per class period and declare winners within each group, plus a winning group for each round, plus an overall winning student, plus an overall winning group. At the end, the papers look beautiful.

Other awesome of Rainbow Rounds:
  • When I review the sheets, I learn a lot about what is easy for students and what is not. Those things that are the easiest will come earlier in the rainbow, and you can see patterns where students skip over things, leaving them as some of the few things left to answer toward the end of the rainbow. 
  • Chunking the class period into rounds allows you to add some flexibility to your lesson. If you need to work with a small group of students, or an individual student, they can sit out for one round, get the time or assistance they need, and still get a chance to play the other rounds. 
This variant involves the team keeping track of the rolls a little bit, so it is best played once your students know the game well. If three consecutive students roll a '1', all three students get to write one thing before passing the writing utensil/magic marker back to the person who earned it with the '6' roll. So if you're playing 'sentence-style', that means they write one sentence apiece, if you're playing vocabulary words alone, that means they write one definition apiece.

Numerus Bestiae: 
Caveat - This one may not be for everyone. Knowing your students, parents, school, administrators, and community is an important part of creating a micro-culture of learning within your classroom that fits into the greater culture. Just like the previous variant, it involves students keeping track of the consecutive rolls. If three consecutive students roll a '6', the entire group shouts, 'Numerus Bestiae!' in their most evil voices (because 666 is the number of the beast). Then you, as the teacher, do something evil. You declare that all Latin words containing the letters 's' 'e' & 'x' do not count for this round and students resume playing. Depending on what Latin is in your activity that day, that could be a lot of the words! In addition to thinking about the first caveat with this variant, I would double-check my word/sentence list to make sure the activity is still feasible after removing those words. 

Connect Four:
Yes indeed, another one with numbers, but this time there's no tracking of rolls. Instead, students are rewarded for getting consecutive lines on the answer sheet correct. If a student correctly answers four lines in a row, they earn a bonus point. To see how that works, take a look at this example:

You will see that you begin counting from the top of a column. You cannot connect four across the columns. 
This answer sheet would earn a bonus for laetus - lupus and magistra - mater. Notice how once a word counts in one group of four, it does not count in another. In other words, even though the four answers from leo through magistra are correct, the groups of four can't overlap and those connections won't count. 

Wrapping Up:

Feedback, feedback, feedback! Hopefully this kind of post is useful. If it is, please let me know via social media or the comments. I do plan on repeating this format with other CI activities in the future, so if you have suggestions for which activities would be good for a second look, shoot those my way too. 

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