Now it is time to present to you my attempt to combine two of Katie’s ideas, the Team Challenge Cube AND the Sticks of Fate (another video you need to go watch.)
Katie gave me the go-ahead to make it my own and do what works, and for whatever reason, this mash-up works wonders in our 7th grade classrooms.
I present to you…..The Cube of Fate.
So how does it work?
- After talking with my co-teachers, we made the following list for our classrooms. (There’s room for flexibility depending on your particular classroom.)
- Someone rolls the Cube of Fate across the floor. However, no one may ASK to roll The Cube of Fate. “No One controls fate.”
- The cube comes to a stop, everyone cranes their necks to look, and everyone whips out the necessary item and holds it in the air.
- We scan the room, assign points per table, row, or whole class. (We change it up as we see fit.)
- We reiterate the importance of that item and why it is needed on that particular day.
- We begin class.
Why use The Cube of Fate?
- After spending several weeks refining the process, it takes no more than 2 minutes at the start of class.
- Students come to class prepared with all necessary materials.
- Class starts the same way every day with an engaging, motivating activity that allows us to set the tone and begin class promptly.
- Students are learning valuable organizational skills.
Observations We Have Made
- Students will quickly run back to their locker to get something they’ve forgotten.
- Students are anxious for class to start.
- We cannot start class without rolling the cube; students do NOT let us forget.
- Students will check each other before class starts (call it peer pressure, call it accountability, call it cooperation, call it awesome)
- Students will share pencils and pens if they must, just in case The Cube of Fate calls for one.
- Students would probably be content with the ‘”team point” although we do try to tally the points and give a piece of candy from time to time to the highest scoring teams. One class was not rewarded for over two weeks, and they never questioned when they would get their candy!
- Both my 7th and 8th grade Resource Rooms are playing as a class. There are only 8 students in each class, so they must earn 10 class points in order for me to bake them something. This has been a challenging goal to attain, but they were both sitting with 9 points the day before Spring Break. I see some pumpkin muffins in their near future.
- Our 3rd period class plays by rows. This is a class of 26. On Fridays, the highest scoring rows get a piece of candy.
- Our 7th period class plays by table. This class has 17 students and some tables seemed to be “stacked” with responsible students, but overall, the are buying into The Cube of Fate. This is the class that went two weeks without being rewarded with something tangible. Stars on a piece of paper were enough. The winning table also gets the honor of being the “Kings of English.”
I hope that my colleague will vouch for the crazy success of this lopsided, hand-made cube wrapped in duct tape here in the comments, or post something on his on blog. I feel like you have to see it to believe it.
But trust me, the concept is just crazy enough that it works. Maybe it’s the fate concept. Maybe it’s the “fairness” of fate. Maybe it’s the ridiculousness of the whole idea. Maybe it’s the way we sell it.
It works; we won’t question it.
We never question The Cube of Fate.
There are a lot of theories about teaching vocabulary. Are you bored with your method? Is it not working as well as you’d like it to? Are you looking for something other than flash cards or your standard vocabulary activities?
Try some of these activities I created for our 7th grade Inclusion Language Arts class. These activities allow for differentiation, discussion, and real world experiences with vocabulary words taught in class.
We are currently using these activities with vocabulary from A Wrinkle in Time. The students were broken into appropriate groups (test scores and our best judgement), and each group received 2 or 3 of these activities to complete.
The activities require students to make connections, use vocabulary in short narrative paragraphs, break words into syllables, identify word parts and parts of speech, use metacognitive strategies, and discuss and use vocabulary with peers in real conversation.
What are some of your favorite ways to teach vocabulary?
How do you differentiate your vocabulary assessments?
I’d love to hear your ideas!