beat the teacher!

Hey friends!! I am halfway through my first full week with my kiddos and I am TIIIIIRED but wow,  I really love this year's bunch! I am so proud of how well they are doing already. We are going to have a great year!

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! :)


  1. Love this idea!! Great for practicing those weekly sight words and an awesome time-filler for those few minutes in between activities :) Plus, kids just love beating the teacher at anything!! lol. Thanks for sharing!

    First Grade Garden

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  2. So cool! Love this idea!!

  3. What font did you use for your beat the teacher?

    1. I just saw this question!! I used KG Second Chances can find it on TPT :)

  4. For math facts you should say something like 3+4 but you have to figure out something harder and whoever gets it first wins the point.

  5. Im in first grade and I know what x+x+xy equals
    2x + xy

    I also know pi is 3.1415926535897932384 ........

    Did you

  6. Actually pi is 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481117450284102701938521....... see more at

  7. What a wonderful game and resource. Thanks so much for sharing this and for the links to print the words! I can't wait to use it this year!

  8. I love this idea! Can't wait to try it on Monday!

  9. so cute! Do you have the tens frame pattern too?

  10. Great idea! My only wonder is only one student racing you at a time (one student practicing at a time), or is the whole class writing the words? I am trying to think of ways for the whole class to write the words rather than one student at a time.

  11. My class loved this game! Our class participates in book buddies with a 4th grade class and they came in during our last round. The 4th grade teacher was impressed with how much fun everyone was having with our words. She is going to use this game with her kiddos. I love that it ties in a little of everything math, writing, spelling, sportsmanship, and I could keep going. Thanks for sharing!

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