Decorative banner image

July 25, 2010

Whole Group Games and Activities: Entry #5

Whole Group Featured ImageWhole Group Featured Image

WholeGroupFeaturedImage 5Whole Group Hangman
What you need: A whiteboard, a word wall, or words on a pocket chart.
Draw: A gallows, and a line for each letter in your word.

BigWordWall2 Choose:

A word from your word wall or pocket chart.  This is what makes this game different from regular Hangman and also what makes it age appropriate.  You only choose words from a specific word bank that they can see right in front of them, so they are using the process of elimination, logic, and reasoning skills to help them get the answer.  They are also using their reading skills as they consider each word.  Children that are still working on learning their letters can benefit from it as well, since it also serves as a review of the alphabet.  So this is a great game for differentiated instruction!  Once the answer becomes obvious to some of your brighter children, you can enjoy watching them squirm as they try to “hold it in;” it always appears as though some of them are going to just “pop!”  Hence, it also becomes a lesson in social skills like self-control, taking turns, and treating others nicely, since taunting other children who have not yet figured out the answer is clearly unacceptable!

You can play a non-violent version by drawing the parts of a cat, pumpkin, snowman, bunny, pig, etc., instead of a dying man, of course!

Whole Group Tic Tac Toe

You can play this on a white board, and have the children read a word or answer any question for drill and practice before placing an X or an O on the board.  Kids love to play boys against girls!

You can also play this “live” by placing nine chairs in the middle of the room, and having the kids sit in the chair where they would want their X or O placed.  This idea of playing it “live” came from the wonderful teachers on  the Kindergarten chatboard on  If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it!

Whole Group Checkers
One year, some of my brighter boys were really “into” playing checkers during playtime.  But many children did not know how to play.  So I put self-adhesive velcro on a checker board and on the markers and taught the class to play!  Just set the checker board on an easel and play boys against girls.

CVC Activities

There are many activities coming up that are demonstrated with resources from Heidisongs CVC Word Families and Sight Words book, but can be played with any flash cards.  There are flashcards that can be used for word matching and sound sorting, and other types of activities that can be practiced whole group.  There are also small sized cards that can be sent home for homework practice, and matching worksheets for the same.  I use these worksheets for homework every single week, once I have introduced blending short vowel sounds (usually by November.)  I use sight word worksheets until we get to that point, and continue to use them afterwards, of course!

Hop To It
What you need:
Pairs of flash cards, like CVC words and pictures that match.  You need one card per child.  If there is an odd number of children, then you play, too.  I am giving you one set of downloads of the “At” family flashcards free!  This free set doesn’t come with the worksheets though- sorry!  To get those, you would have to buy the book or the five dollar download of the short A unit.

How to play:

Each child holds his or her card on his chest and when the music starts, they begin hopping around the room, looking for the person with the card that matches theirs.  When they find their partner, they stop hopping and hold hands with him or her.

Variations on Hop To It:
*  Use pairs of sight word cards and have the children find the person that has the same word that they have.  Or, match pictures and letters, or numerals and dots. (The “Counting to 100” song that they were hopping around to is on my Jumpin’ Numbers and Shakin’ Shapes CD)

Word Wall or CVC Word Whackers
Give two kids a word whacker.  Tell them to find a word and whack it.  The first person to whack it gets to choose the next two whackers.  The kids choose a name by pulling a name stick.  Word Whackers are available on Amazon.

I use a couple of old Nestle’s Quik containers to keep my name sticks in.  I just taped them together with clear packing tape and them covered one side of it with stickers.  That’s the side that I start on.  Once the kids have had a turn, I move their name to the other side.  Also, when I write their names down, I write the boys names in blue and the girls names in red (or pink, if I can find a pink marker!).  That way, if we are playing a boys against girls game, I can easily pick the right name.  For the last couple of years, I wound up making an extra set of name sticks with another container to keep in a “Play School Box” that is on our toy shelf, because the kids love to play teacher and quiz each other on the different flashcards that they can find around the room.  Also, when I wrote their names on the sticks, I wrote them all with a black marker so that if I found a stray name stick somewhere in the room, I would know right away which set it belonged with.  Nothing is worse than losing a name stick and not knowing about it until weeks later!  This only seems to happen to the very shyest students, of course, who wouldn’t dream of speaking up if they did not get a turn!

I put a bunch of extra sets of flashcards in the box that they could get all mixed up and play with (or lose!), etc, and it wouldn’t matter to me.  There are also a couple of small white boards and markers in the box, and some red marking pens.  I keep any extra copies of old worksheets or scrap paper in a tub where they can always find it, if they want to “correct” each others work!