I wanted to share with you one of my favorite games to play with my firsties. Before I started teaching 1st grade I had never done weekly spelling tests. At the start of last year was looking for a fun way to practice the words every week and I came across the idea for this game. I honestly have no memory of who told me about it or if it was even called "Beat The Teacher". Y'all, my kids were OBSESSED with this game. They begged to play it every morning (and it showed up on more than 1 list of favorite memories in our memory books at the end of the year). It has already become a class favorite this year as well.
The game is really simple. I give them a word and they write it in the middle of their white board. "Ready, set, go" and we all race to write the word in all 4 corners of the board. When you are finished you tap the end of your marker on your white board. If I win, I get the point. If a student wins, the class gets the point. So simple and so much fun! And let me tell you, I don't just LET them win. I am usually racing right along with them (the longer the word the harder the race for some reason)!
We would always play to 10 (we took it to 20 later in the year) and I kept a tally in the corner of our board to see where we were. This year I am using ten frames to track our progress (I'm all about sneak attack subitizing practice haha). The scoreboard actually was a great opportunity for some real world math talk. They were always discussing how far ahead the leader was, or how many more we each needed to get 10 or 20.
You can grab the scoreboard labels here.
You could make the prize anything you want, but I always did stickers. For each game last year, I had a container filled with 28 stickers (one for every student). If they won, they each got a sticker, if I won I got all 28 stickers and wore them around all day. They thought that was pretty hilarious. On the match point I'd always say "This is for allllllll the stickers" and you could hear a pin drop in the room. The stakes were HIGH!
There are just 2 rules: You can't start early and your words have to be written neatly enough to be read. The starting early issue gets stopped pretty early because if you get caught cheating, I automatically got the point for the round. The rest of the class does NOT like that! Instant self policing!! It also didn't count if you wrote so fast that you can't read the words. (We usually do these on whiteboards with handwriting lines so that generally helps the neatness factor).
We play on our whiteboards but you could do this on a piece of paper and just write the word 4 times in a row. Recently I've been thinking up ways to use this to practice math facts...more on that in another post.
I'd love to hear how this goes with your class if you decide to try it! :)