Football & Figurative Language

Teachers have long infused their lessons with cultural trends.  From Pound Puppies to Pac Man, every fad has its day.  Some trends, such as Legos and Mickey Mouse, are timeless.  But none is more enduring than football, America’s most popular sport since 1985.  Whether you feel as though the season never ends, or you suffer withdrawal May though July, football is a high-interest topic that makes any lesson more engaging.

Trade & Grade LogoIf you’re looking for a quick way to take the ball and run with this idea, you might want to check out the Football Figurative Language Game.  You don’t have to know the difference between an incomplete pass or a field goal to score a touchdown with this activity.

First, players select from over 24 team identities such as the ones below.  While this step is optional, for most students choosing a team makes the game more fun!football teamsNext, a set of 24 yellow, answer cards is distributed evenly among the individual players or teams.  Then a set of 24 red cards with common expressions is placed in a central location.  Students take turns picking a red card, reading the phrase, and then determining the meaning of the figurative expression.snip of football figurative language cards A set of green cards with yards gained or lost is also placed upside-down in a central location.  Each time a match is made, students select a green card.  There is also a set of cards with point values which can be used.  The team/student with the most yards or points at the end of the game is the winner.  green card clumpMy students loved this activity!  It was rewarding seeing how much they enjoyed making connections and learning about figurative language.  Here is one group playing the game.

After a few minutes of play, a shy student pulled the red “let the cat out of the bag” card.  Everyone glanced at their yellow cards.  Another player– an avid reader and creative thinker– quickly realized he didn’t have the correct answer.  Impulsively, he offered the table a clue, “Imagine someone holding a bag and you don’t know what’s in it.  You want to know, but he won’t tell you.”  The shy student looked a little confused and asked, “Why’s it a secret?”  A petite girl sitting on the end called out, “I’d grab the bag and open it.” football figurative pic with boy reachingThe table was quiet for a moment.  Suddenly the shy student’s face lit up and she said, “I’ve got it!”  She played the correct matching answer card, “tell a secret” and completed a pass to earn ten yards!

snip of girl with folded handsThe students’ eagerness to play the game made the experience fun and educational for everyone!  If you’d like to try the game in your class, click here to get a Football Figurative Language FREEBIE.  If you’d like to check out the full-length version at The TLC Shop on TpT, click here.  Either way, you’re sure to push it over the goal line with this lesson!

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Chalkboard Quotes

It’s good to be surrounded by words that inspire, encourage, and motivate.  These are a few of my favorite quotes.

Colored cover page snipCheck out the two free downloads, below.  Just click the link after each one.

Print this one out for your own classroom. Or, frame it as a gift for a friend’s desk or the wall of a home office.

Blog marked Object of teaching posterDownload your own copy here!

This one posted in the Teachers’ Lounge will help my colleagues remember the value of their contribution, even during challenging times.

Blog snipped low memory Teaching is not a lost artDownload your own copy here!

Here are three more of my favorite quotes.  The set of all five is available through my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Blog marked Seek opportunitiesClcik here to see this product at my TpT store!

Blog To know snip less memoryClcik here to see this product at my TpT store!

Blog marked Im more interested posterClcik here to see this product at my TpT store!

Do you have a favorite quote?  Please share it below.  Who knows, maybe it’ll end up as a freebie on a future blog post!

3 Easy Tips to Make Writing Instruction More Fun

Some kids love to write.  Some kids hate it.  How do you keep everyone engaged in the writing process?  Here are three quick ideas.

three easy tips writing fun1.  Editing Table:  Establish a table or area of the room that has at least two chairs.  During composition time, students who are ready to have their writing peer-edited may go and sit at the editing table.  As soon as another student is ready to peer edit, he or she will go over to the table to find a partner.  Each peer-editing pair leaves the editing table area once they are matched up.

With variations, I use this method in my classroom all the time.  If a lot of students are ready to peer-edit, I create the first pairs.  After that, students move to the editing table as they wrap up.  I usually ask that students peer-edit with at least three different people.

As soon as a pair approaches the editing table, the two students who are sitting there waiting to find a new partner MUST pair up and move away to begin work.  The editing table in not a work area and no more than two people should ever be there at any given time.jpg_Education-005-color2.  Peer-Editing Process:  Even reluctant writers enjoy reading their work aloud to a captive audience.  However, to make the most of peer-editing time it’s better for each partner to read the OTHER person’s writing aloud.  This gives the author a chance to hear how his or her words sound.

It can be very effective for a writer to see a classmate struggle over pronunciation due to the author’s spelling errors or awkward wording.  Also, children learn the language of writing during this process.  Nothing is more wonderful than hearing one student tell another, “You need a transition here.”   Also, student authors are less likely to be offended by a peer editor who asks “What do you mean here?”

If you require your students to use this shared reading process, remind them that the author has ultimate control over his or her words.  For example, if one student tells the other that a word doesn’t make sense, it’s the writer’s decision to change it or let it stand.  Partners suggest, but they are never to insist.  In the end, the writer earns the grade, not the peer editor.jpg_Education-001-color3.  Monitor Progress:  Provide a way for students to see how they are progressing.  When conferencing with students offer them two positive comments and one constructive criticism.  For example, a teacher might say, “Zack, you did a really good job with spelling and punctuation.  I also like the way you tied the topic sentence to the closing sentence.  Your personal challenge for next time is to avoid repeating any one word or phrase too often.  Did you notice that four of your sentences in this composition begin with, “He really likes…?”

Students also benefit from monitoring their own progress either along the writing process, or within a specific set of skills.  You can create a writing process monitoring chart and have students move move a clothespin up the chart from prewriting, to drafting, and so on, all the way to finishing the final draft.

Each student may also have his or her own goal chart with a list of three to five skills on which they will focus.  Students with introductory writing skills may focus on writing neatly, using complete sentences, and including a topic sentence.  Students with more sophisticated writing skills may focus on point of view, using specific language, and adding figurative language.  The key is setting small, reachable goals, and acknowledging each tiny improvement.  Click here, to download the assessment ladder of skills that could be used to develop student goals.  (See below.)

Asessment Ladder Glow edgesWriting can be fun for both teachers and students.  The best way to insure student success is to: (1) encourage students to write and rewrite until the meaning is clear, (2) provide ongoing opportunities for students to share their writing with their peers and interact, and (3) set clear, easy-to-meet goals for students still developing their skills.

What do you do in your class to make your writing lessons more interesting?  Please share your ideas below.  I’d love to hear from you!