Thread: Vocab
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:20 PM
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Sam Simian Sam Simian is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 61
Default Cranium

Dear Woody,

I have often used an extremely modified version of Cranium. I won’t explain the original version, but you do need to be familiar with it, so look at this site:

It’s easier to just buy a game to modify — that’s what I’ve done, but that isn’t necessary; you could make your own. You will only need a board, game pieces, paper or a white board to draw on, and a die. You will not need the cards; you are going to make your own. The Wikipedia page has a very detailed picture of the board, and I think that it would be fairly easy to make a DIY version based on it. The Cranium die is cooler than a regular die (and it better suits the game), but you could use a regular die and assign a different color to each number — for example, 1 = red, 2 = yellow, 3 = green, 4 = blue, 5 = purple (a brain), and 6 = roll again.

Divide the class into teams. (There can be up to four teams.) Assign a different category to each color: red, yellow, green, and blue. I use it for review, and I like my games (and my classes) to be a combination of serious learning and goofy fun, so I mix the two up. Here’s an example of categories that I’ve used with one of my classes (a level 2 class in a program that has 5 levels):
RED (“factoid-ish”): Correct the mistake in the sentence on the whiteboard.
YELLOW (spelling): Without writing anything or using any other aid, spell a word forwards or backwards. (The point of backward spelling is to “handicap teams” — by making the spelling harder — and to induce mistakes that cause good-natured fun.)
GREEN (pictionary): Without speaking or writing any words, draw pictures to elicit the comparative on the card — for example, A is bigger than B, X is more intelligent than Y, or 1 is sexier than 2. (You may, or may not, want to restrict the students’ ability to point to things or people in the classroom.)
BLUE (charades): Without speaking or writing any words (It’s OK to make sounds), elicit the place on the card — for example, a laundromat, a hospital, or an amusement park.

In my experience, this extremely modified version of Cranium is easy to adapt to your level and what you’ve been teaching, it’s a good way to review what you’ve taught, it does not take much prep’ time, it’s inexpensive or free, and it makes students both learn and laugh uncontrollably. In other words, I think it’s great game to use in your class. Give it a try.

Sam Simian

Last edited by Sam Simian; 07-01-2008 at 03:29 AM.
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