I am a first time tutor this year with Classical Conversations and I will be tutoring the Foundations program. I am super nervous because I really want to make sure that I do a good job with these kiddos. So I have been doing what I normally do when I’m super nervous about something: plan, plan, and then plan some more. It may be a problem.
Fortunately, my obsessive compulsive streak might be beneficial for you because I’ve rounded up my favorite ideas for reviewing memory work (along with links to any items you might need to purchase or download to make the idea work.) Although this list is specifically designed to help children learn the memory work associated with Foundations, it can be used to help kids in any learning environment memorize anything. I hope you enjoy these ideas and please leave a comment on the blog with your favorite ways to drill memory work with your kids. I would love to hear from you and add to my list!
I should note that I’ve gone through hundreds of Amazon listings to try to find the best value for each of these supplies. If you do decide to purchase any of these products, please do so from the links provided on this post. It will give you the best price I was able to find and I will receive a small referral fee that helps me to purchase more items to review on the blog. Thanks!
I saw this game on increasemyhunger.blogspot.com (photos are from that blog). It is pretty easy to put together and, once done, it can be used over and over. You will use a permanent marker and create a grid on a poster board. The grid has letters across the top from A-G and numbers down the left side from 1-6. Place a post-it note on each grid square. You then cut several ships out of construction paper: some that take up one grid square, some that span two, and some that span three. The ships that span more than one square will be cut into pieces, each small enough to fit under one post-it note. Before going to class, you will hide each ship under the post-it notes somewhere on the board.
You assign a subject to each letter and a week of review to each number. The kids take turns “firing” a shot by calling out a square on the board (ie: B-5.) You assign the appropriate memory work for that square (ie: History, Week 10), the child recites the work, and then you remove the post-it and uncover the square. You continue the game until the children have sunk all your battleships. This game looks really fun and I can’t wait to try it. I will probably insert a group memory work recitation after each “shot” is fired, just so there is more memory work being done. Here’s what you need:
Jeopardy and Zap
I have seen several variations of these two games all over Pinterest and I intend to adjust the rules to each as I go along and see what works best for my class. The basic rules for Jeopardy are pretty straight forward. Acting as individuals, groups, or teams, the students select a category and a dollar value from the board (just like in the TV show). You pull the memory work from the corresponding pocket and the child recites it. If they are correct, they get the points associated with the question. (This photo is from homeschoolwithwinnie.com).
Zap adds a few twists to the same format. In the Zap version, you divide the students up into several teams. Beginning with the first team, ask a memory work question of your choosing (or pulled randomly). If they get it right, they get one point and they pick a card from one of the pockets on the Zap board. Each pocket contains an instruction card. The cards are an assortment of “good” and “bad”. For example: “add 2 points to your score”, “subtract 2 points from your score”, “switch scores with another team”, “ZAP your score” (ZAPping a score resets the team’s score to zero), “ZAP all teams’ scores”, “pick another team to ZAP”, etc. I have seen some tutors add random action cards as well such as “do 15 jumping jacks”, “pat your head and rub your tummy”, etc. I like this addition because it adds another dimension to the game and helps to get the wiggles out.
Although both of these game boards can be constructed by gluing colored envelopes onto poster board, I think it is infinitely easier (and probably not more expensive) to just purchase a pocket calendar chart. These charts are sturdy enough to use for years and the Classical Conversations Memory Work Flashcards fit perfectly in the pockets so you can use them for any of these memory review games (and several more). I compared all the pocket charts on Amazon. You need to be careful because some of them are considerably smaller than others. Here is one that is the correct size and is one of the least expensive:
Nerf Gun Target Review
What kid doesn’t like to shoot Nerf guns in the house? I love this idea. You simply draw “targets” on your white board and label each one with a subject: English, Latin, history, etc. Each student takes a turn shooting a Nerf dart at the board. Whichever subject they hit is the memory work the class recites together. Most of you probably have an old Nerf gun lying around your house somewhere. But, if you are like me, and you just happened to sell all your Nerf guns at a yard sale two months before you found out about Classical Conversations, here’s a reasonably priced gun that will work:
Skip Count Skip Rope
One of my kids has a learning disability and I have found that anytime I can combine physical activity with memorization, it helps him to retain the information more easily. Along those lines, I’m excited to try Skip Count Skip Rope. My idea is to purchase a few jump ropes from the Dollar Store and let the kids skip rope as they recite their skip counting facts.
Another game that combines physical activity with mental effort is cup stacking. The concept is simple: Write the skip counting multiples on the sides of paper cups. Each student takes a turn stacking the cups as quickly as possible, in order, from bottom to top, left to right. There are lots of ways that you could do this. You could create stations and have the kids rotate through each station. You could time the kids and try for a best time. You could have kids compete in teams against each other. Lots of possibilities.
I like this review game because while the kids are competing against each other, correct answers benefit everyone, so this game helps to foster camaraderie. You print the bingo cards and give one to each student. Take turns having the students pick a random subject and week to review. There are many ways you can do this, but my favorite is to label a bunch of popsicle sticks with subjects and weeks and then have the kids draw a random stick. If the student recites the grammar correctly, then everyone gets to cover an open space on their bingo card that corresponds to the subject answered. First student to complete a row, or black-out their card, or whatever you choose…is the winner.
If you would like to download the bingo cards pictured above, visit lovelifecelebrateblog.wordpress.com. She has the file available for free download in either color or black and white.
Amazon has popsicle sticks… super useful for any number of review games including bingo:
Skip Count Catch
I first introduced this game in my post on 7 Ways to Teach Multiplication to Kids with Different Learning Styles. You can read that post HERE. This game is great because it combines physical exertion with memory. It is simple to play. You just need 2 or more players and something to throw in the air (ball, Frisbee, balloon, etc.) A particular times table (or skip count) is selected, and as each player catches the ball, they must yell out the next fact while the ball is in the air to their partner. So for example, the first player would throw the ball into the air and yell “3!” The next player has to catch the ball and immediately throw it up again yelling “6!” This goes on until the final number is reached. If the ball is dropped or someone yells out the wrong number, then the team starts over. The game can be played competitively or cooperatively, and the team can race the clock to beat their old record. I recommend using a balloon or a beach ball for indoor play.
I’m sure you can find beach balls at your local Dollar Store, but if they are out of season, here’s a cheap 3-pack on Amazon:
There are so many fun review games floating around in the CC Community. These are the ones that I’ve decided to try this year, but I would love to hear about your favorite games in the comments below!
Stay tuned for a post with my best ideas for introducing new grammar…coming soon.