Purposeful Chatter Through Collaboration

by mrsapia

In a effort to review our content area vocabulary words that students have explored throughout the duration of the school year, we have been playing numerous games, ranging from Jeopardy, Scategories, and “Head-Band.” This school of review comes from Marzano’s strategies for teaching vocabulary.

The premise of head-band is students chose words from a pile, hold it up to their forehead so they can’t see the word, and their partners give them clues to solve the word. Students have created index cards of their vocabulary words. The clues can range from synonyms, antonyms, non-verbal actions, kinesthetic movements, etc. The greatest part about this activity is the purposeful chatter. For so many years, we’ve been led to believe that quiet equates to better focus and student achievement. I tend to disagree. Of course, certain activities need to be done independently in order to get a valid assessment of where children’s strengths and areas of improvement are to drive instruction. However, the power of head-band is the frantic energy students display.

One may walk by my room during this time and think it’s absolute chaos and disorganization. How can there be any learning going on with all that chatter? This couldn’t be further from the truth. As I walk around monitoring progress, I hear students using their own individual techniques in order to enable their partner to guess the words correctly. The level of purposeful student engagement is real and alive. Students giving the clues and students guessing the word need to tap deep into their memory and use many skills they’ve acquired throughout the year to be successful. How can you not love a game that combines engagement, focus, demonstration of learning, and FUN?