After teaching my students proper professional editing marks
for the first two weeks of the year, I am ready to start football season. We
team teach, and I have four blocks of Language Arts class. Each block
chooses a team name and competes against an imaginary opponent each week.
The two blocks with the best record play for the hallowed Language Arts
Football Championship Trophy that I keep in the school's trophy case.
Set up: I have converted my back bulletin board into a football field with 6
ft. X 8 ft. paper goal posts on the wall next to it. You can make a smaller
field on paper if space is a problem. I would not sacrifice the field goal
posts though. They are a huge part of the excitement. After field set up,
you will need to make your yardage cards. Write yardage amounts in 5-yard
increments on 1 X 1 inch squares of paper and laminate them. I made 30 five
yard gains, 25 ten yard gains, 20 fifteen yard gains, 15 twenty yard gains,
10 twenty-five yard gains, and 5 fifty yard gains. I also threw in 5 fumbles
and 5 interceptions to keep things interesting. Now, all you need is a chalk
board and the material you teach.
Playing the game: Start the game with a coin toss to determine if the class
gets the ball first or is on defense first. We'll be optimistic and say they
won the toss. Start them out on their own 25-yard-line. It is first and 10.
Have two students working as teammates come up to the board and draw a
yardage card. Let's say they drew a 15 yard gain. You can now put an
incorrect sentence on the board to be edited or ask them a question about
whatever it is your teaching. I use it for everything I ever cover in my
class. If they get it right, they gain the yardage they picked (in this case
15 yards). If they don't get it right it is now 2nd down and so on. They
move down the field until they get a touchdown or have to settle for a field
goal. This is where the goalposts come into play. Whoever scores the
touchdown, gets to kick the extra point with my Nerf football. When students
are on defense the game is played the same, except that they are trying to
stop that week's imaginary opponent from gaining the yardage they draw.
Overview: It's a fantastic mastery learning technique. Whatever we learned
in September is kept fresh in March through Language Arts Football. My kids
are excellent editors because of it also.