Cementing the Year With Jeopardy

By Brent Vasicek on May 18, 2011
  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

It's near the end of the year. Some of the students are getting squirrelly. You are running out of steam, but this is the time that you need to push your hardest. What to do . . . what to do?

It's near the end of the year. Some of the students are getting squirrelly. You are running out of steam, but this is the time that you need to push your hardest. What to do . . . what to do?

To be honest, right now you are not going to get much new material delivered in a memorable way. Brain research does not support cramming, so I prefer to concentrate on cementing what I have already taught. I do it with several rounds of Jeopardy. In the true spirit of the Kagan teachings, this maximizes student engagement.

 

THE PROCESS

  • About one month before the end of the year I make a list of all the topics we have covered. I have the students each sign up for four different topics they would like to cover in their own Jeopardy game. I allow three to five students to cover a specific topic (e.g., fractions, the planets, the respiratory system).
  • For about three days the students furiously write questions and then bring them to me for approval. The questions must be worded perfectly so there's only one correct answer. Yes/no, true/false, and multiple choice questions are not allowed.
  • We then spend two to three hours in the computer lab over the course of the next several weeks to modify a Jeopardy PowerPoint template. 
  • During the last week of school we play round after round of Jeopardy. Each student gets to host their own game show on the SMART Board. A SMART Board is not required, but it makes it fun.
  • I put the students in groups of about five. I switch the groups after every couple rounds. Eggspert
  • I use a buzzer system. I purchased this Eggspert system, which works great. It is not the most durable, but it has  worked for over 200 rounds of Jeopardy so far! It is about $50.
  • To determine a final winner, I keep an Excel spreadsheet. After each round, I give each member on the winning team six points; on the second place team, five points; third place, four points, etc. The person with the overall highest score is deemed the winner.

THE VALUE

  • This is a great activity for showing the need for precision in writing.
  • Students refine their PowerPoint skills.
  • Students are not only reviewing as they write the questions, but as they respond to those of their peers, so the whole last month of school is spent reviewing.
  • It is a final comfort zone-stretching activity. Many leaders emerge as they show their excitment to share their Jeopardy games.

LINKS TO JEOPARDY TEMPLATES

Make sure the students do not delete or add any slides in the PowerPoints below. It can mess up the intricate interlinking. I remind them to (1) save often, and (2) hit Control-Z (undo) if they get into trouble.

Jeopardy 1:  This version looks good, but I am not sure that the dollar amounts on the main screen change color to show they have been used.

Jeopardy 2: This teacher-created version is the one I prefer and have used over the year. It seems pretty reliable.

Jeopardy Vasicek Title 

 

What do you do to cement the year's learning?

2I2 TradeMark 2010 Winding down,

Brent

www.mrvasicek.com

 

2i2 is trademark of Mr. Vasicek's class. It denotes living a life of integrity while pushing yourself to your potential.

Comments

About one month before the end of the year I make a list of all the topics we have covered. I have the students each sign up for four different topics they would like to cover in their own Jeopardy game. I allow three to five students to cover a specific topic (e.g., fractions, the planets, the respiratory system).
For about three days the students furiously write questions and then bring them to me for approval. The questions must be worded perfectly so there's only one correct answer. Yes/no, true/false, and multiple choice questions are not allowed.
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