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"Stump the Teacher"

Submitted by: Jennifer Smith
From: SLC, Utah
Date Submitted: April 24, 2001

One way to get students to read and comprehend their textbook information is to play a game called "Stump the Teacher."

In preparation, give students a reading assignment-a section or chapter, depending on the grade level. As they are reading, each student needs to write down at least 5 questions to "stump the teacher" along with their respective answers. The following guidelines are helpful:

1. The answer to the question must be found in the reading material assigned.
2. A fair question is about content...a question you might expect to find on a quiz. (In other words, not "What is the first word in the second paragraph of the third page?")

I suggest to my class to read over the assigned material more than once, not only to come up with questions for me, but to anticipate questions that I might ask them. Teacher preparation involves creating a quiz with about 10 questions that cover the main ideas from the material that you want students to know. Questions may be true/false, short answer, multiple choice, or fill in the blank.

The next day, we play the game. Each of my students names are on a popsicle stick. When I draw their name, they get to ask me one of their questions. If I get the answer right, I get a point for the teacher. If I get it wrong, the class earns a point. (Depending on how close the game is, sometimes I will miss a question on purpose to keep the game interesting.) Then I ask the same student a question from the quiz. If they get the answer correct, they earn a point for the class. If they don't know the answer or get it wrong, they earn a point for the teacher. Each student gets at least one turn. Though only one student is participating at a time, their incentive to listen is that often the quiz questions will be repeated. At the end of the game if the teacher has the most points, the class has to take the quiz. If the class has the most points, they each get the total points for the quiz recorded in the grade book without actually taking the quiz.

Students really like this game. The best part about it though, is that they still end up learning the material, often better than if they had just studied for a standard quiz. Plus they learn good study skills such as anticipating how they will be tested on the material as they read.

NOTE: Depending on the length of the reading assignment, I sometimes let the students use their books to look up the answers to my questions within a certain time limit. With some instruction this helps them learn how to quickly scan and use section headings as clues to where the answer might be found. However to be fair, I as the teacher don't get to use the book during the game. Beware though, you will need to study...students are get very good at "stumping the teacher."


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