Today I had the students play a game I call, “Who’s On My Back?” I had the student create a trading card (see previous post) for homework. I had them pull it out and place it on their desk. Those that didn’t do the homework could not participate. I placed little pieces of Scotch tape on the edges of my overhead cart. Then I told them what they were going to do. I recruited a volunteer from the class. I told the class that they were to get a piece of tape from the cart and place it on their card with some of the tape exposed on top. Then they were to stick their card on the back of another person. This is where I told the students, “If you didn’t do the homework, you can’t participate. If someone tries to stick a card to your back, make sure you tell them that you can’t participate because you didn’t do your homework and that you know that you disappointed Mr. Rangel and that because you didn’t do what was required last night, you demonstrated that your education is not that important, but you have learned your lesson, and you will never forget to do your homework again.” They laughed a little. Once someone places a card on their back, the student has to go around and ask someone, “Who’s on my back?” Then that person will look at that card and the game will begin. The person with the card will try and guess who is on the card by asking yes/no questions of the other student – “Is it a person? Is it a general? Did he fight for the South? These questions will continue until the person guesses correctly who is on the card. Once the student gets it right, he/she will sit down. It takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. It’s one of those “Get-The-Kids-Out-Of-Their-Chair” assignments. I then explained the big Civil War in a Can Project. I’ll talk about that in later posts.
Today’s Advice: Get the little things ready ahead of time. With 8th graders, you have to be efficient with time. Too much free time will lead to the students getting noisy and it will be harder to get them back on task. Even little things like strips of Scotch tape can cause your activity to become less fun. I made sure that I had the little pieces of tape already for them to just pull off the cart and stick it on the card. It would have been hard to control the activity if I had to cut pieces of tape as they were walking around. Anything you can do ahead of time will make things easier for you.