One of the most popular games I use is the most simple: grab 3 medium bins or boxes, grab a pile of word or picture cards, line up your class and have them take turns sorting them into the correct bin (for example, amphibians, mammals, or reptiles OR prefix, suffix, word root etc.) Make your own games to fit your curriculum or try this one: This set of Sort It! Games is specifically designed to make something that’s really hard for upper elementary kids and adults (!) - determining the strength of evidence to support statements - more fun.
Students will enjoy playing Sort It! games. It's an engaging hands-on way for students to practice working with content and language. Language Learners of all levels are supported because the games are self-pacing, can be played in pairs, are hands-on and include visuals to assist comprehension. Teachers can quickly visually assess student comprehension by checking the bins for accuracy and re-teach as needed on the spot.
I provide you with a statement card, for example, “Soccer equipment is made to protect players.” Students then sort the 16 evidence cards into three categories: strong evidence (for statements that strongly support the statement), weak evidence (for statements that somewhat support the statement), and not evidence (for statements that do nothing to support the statement). The key is to carefully read and re-read the statement in order to understand what it really means.
WHAT? Play Sort It! Games once or twice a week whole class, in pairs, and/or individually.
WHY? All students need practice understanding what counts as evidence for statements so they they can both write and read critically. However, this skill is often not explicitly taught with materials that help students to compare evidence related to a statement. Language learners will benefit from repeated practice with support from higher proficiency and bilingual peers in ranking evidence for an analytic statement.
Determine if you want students to work in pairs (recommended) and photocopy as many card sets as you will need (a set includes 1 statement card and 12 evidence cards). Cut out the cards (or have students do this) and shuffle them. Photocopy a blank game card for each pair (or small group or individual). You may want to slide them into a plastic sleeve or laminate them for durability. Or you can make paper boxes with card stock (see master at the end of this unit) or use sets of small boxes you have and label them with post-it notes.
Model reading a statement and then choosing and reading a 1 or 2 evidence cards and thinking aloud where to put them (strong, weak, or not evidence). A document camera or LCD projector can help make the sorting process visually clear.
Direct students to take turns drawing an evidence card and talking about why they choose to place it as either strong, weak, or not evidence for the statement.
Everyday ELL is now Every Language Learner.