Trashketball

Review kills me. I struggle with finding a good balance between fun and actual, deep, review of ideas we've talked about during class. I also like to make review a little tough to see if they can apply the ideas, not just recall.

I think this original idea came from Crystal Kirch somewhere way back when, but I can't seem to find the original blog post I think I may have read. Either way, here's Trashketball.

I split my students into groups of five - it seemed to be the magic number. Threes and fours also worked well. The team could build an uber set of notes, pulling the best from whatever anyone could contribute. They would realize what they had missed over the unit and then add it to theirs as we went, which was nice. The rules are simple:

  1. Each correct response gets one point for the team.
  2. Each correct response also gets one shot for bonus points for the team.
  3. A shot into the Bonus Bucket doubles the point value of the shooting line you choose.
  4. Each team member must shoot at least once before you begin repeating shooters.
  5. Winning team gets a Dum Dum from the Bucket of Victors' Spoils.

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It was pretty incredible to see how different teams approached strategy. The incentive to answer questions accurately was high because if you get the question wrong, you can't shoot for bonus points. You fall behind pretty quickly.

Secondly, some teams took the slow-and-steady approach. For each answer, they took easy, one or two point shots. Their score grew steadily while others took miracle shots, which only saved a team once out of the six games we played during the day. Also, teams didn't consider the fact that shooting a four-point ball was as easy as hitting the Bonus Bucket from the two point line, which was purposely easy to do.

It's an easy game to pull off with kids and the more you hype it up, the more fun it is. I took - and missed - plenty of "easy" shots, which broke the ice for those who were apprehensive about shooting a newspaper and tape ball. Others were knocked down a little because those long-range shots are hard to make.

I think, though, this was my favorite review because of the drive to do things well. All teams worked well together to answer questions, and that was important. I know exactly what needs to be discussed again leading into the test later this week. Kids were also attentive - up and moving around - which increased focus and helped everyone review the ideas of the unit.

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