4th Grade Frenzy: 3 Whole Group Games
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March 19, 2018

3 Whole Group Games


Have you ever planned a lesson with the best technology integration only to have the technology fail as you begin the lesson?  My favorite technology fail story to tell about is the time I was teaching math. I was writing the word "associative" when the Smartboard froze immediately after a particular letter...I'll let you figure out which letter that was! Can you hear those 4th Graders giggling? Anyway....it may be a good idea to have a few games up your sleeve for those times when technology doesn't work or simply when the kids need to get up and move. At other times, you may want to have your kiddos practice some social skills! Here are a few games that require no prep and can be used with multiple levels simply by differentiating your questioning.

7 Up with a Twist

(for any content other than long math problems)

Choose 7 students to go to the front of the room. The remaining students place their heads down on their desks and their thumbs up. The 7 students silently walk around the room and push down a thumb of one of their classmates and return to the front of the room. When all 7 students are back to the front of the room, say "Wake up sleepy heads!" The students who have their thumbs pushed down, stand up. The teacher asks each of the 7 chosen students to answer review questions one at a time. If the student gets the answer right, they get to guess a classmate who may have pushed down their thumb. If the student guesses the classmate correctly, the guesser and thumb pusher trade places.  If the guesser does not correctly answer the review question, he/she sits back down. You can differentiate your questioning based on the needs of your students. Repeat the process as time allows.

Sink or Swim

(for any content other than long math problems)

Split the class in half, and have students face each other on opposite sides of the room. (If you assign your kiddos numbers, you could have evens on one side and odds on the other.) Pose a question to the first member of the first team. If the student answers correctly, he/she gets to sink someone on the opposing team. When sunk, the student sits down. If the student answers their question incorrectly, he/she is sunk and must sit down. Next, pose a question to the first student on the opposing team. If the student is correct, he/she may opt to save a kid on his/her own team, and that student would rejoin the team. Another option for a correct answer is to sink someone on the opposing team. I like to add a rule that a student can only be sunk once until every member of a team has been sunk once, and then everyone is fair game again. Play continues in this manner until one team is completely sunk. The team with members standing wins!

4 in a Row with a Twist

(for vocabulary in any content area)

Write 16+ words on the board from the content being reviewed. Students copy the vocab words in random boxes on their 4 in a Row board. They may not use a word more than once. (Blank board FREE for you below!) Need the game, but forgot to print? No worries, simply have your kiddos fold a blank sheet of paper until they have 16 boxes. Then they can trace over the fold lines and add words in the boxes. While students are preparing their boards, prepare prizes. Prizes for 4 in a row get written individually on sticky notes. Try starting with about 5 low cost or no cost prizes such as erasers, pencils, drawing time, etc. For a twist, add in gag prizes such as pencil shavings, a plastic spoon, etc. Kids love to hear the prize to see if it is real or fake as they call the gag prizes. So many laughs! Pile up the sticky notes listing each prize and keep them up-side-down. Hand out chips, and play. Teacher reads the definition of each review word. Students cover each word that they have on their board. For an added twist, instead of yelling, "Bingo," have students perform an action such as pretend to shoot a basketball, call out something funny such as "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street!?", or sing a few lines of a song such as Let is Go.....when they win. Then have each winner call out their winning words. All winners for the round come up to the teacher where the prize is revealed to students from the first sticky note.  Students remove chips from game boards and play again. Continue until you have distributed all of the prizes or run out of time.

Get your FREE blank 4 in a Row board HERE!

Consider writing down these 3 games on an index card for those times when your lesson includes technology that just won't cooperate or you and your kiddos just need to interact!

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