I remember in sixth grade telling “Round Robin” stories where one person started a sentence and then we had to go in order around the circle, each adding a new detail to continue the story. These stories never made much sense, and I was always frustrated with my less-than-creative or overly-ridiculous classmates.
However, my colleague Tom likes to play the vocabulary version of this game with his students; he lists the vocabulary words to use on the board and has them take turns in a circle telling a story using the words. I was skeptical trying it with my own students -but it has quickly become their favorite vocabulary game. As you can hear from the video, there is a lot of persiflage in the process of creating stories about amorphous jelly or goo (can you tell what our first word was?). Thanks Tom for the idea!
Project or write the vocabulary words you want to review on a board or screen so that all students can see the words easily.
Split students into groups-preferably no more than eight so that the action stays lively for all involved.
Have students in each group decide who goes first.
The first person uses the first word on the list in a sentence.
Going in clockwise order, the student to the left of the original student says the next word in a sentence that continues the story.
Continue the game until all words have been said twice--to really drive home meaning.
*If a student uses two words in a row, s/he can “pass” the next round
*If a student doesn’t know the word s/he can be helped by classmates but then has to use the word in two sentences before the game moves on.
When I surveyed them after playing a three different vocabulary games in a week, the students almost unanimously chose this game as their favorite. When I asked why, they said they liked having a story to connect the words to-it gave them more context then simply repeating a definition or saying a sentence at random. I think they also liked the goofiness aspect of it. Finally, I can appreciate this much reviled game again!