Is it even humanly possible to make the process of collecting, reviewing, and grading THOUSANDS of index cards fun?
If you're like me, you know firsthand that teaching long form research papers can be one of the single most EXHAUSTING parts of any teacher's calendar year. Writing thesis statements. Hitting up online libraries and databases. Forcing students to pay super close attention to increasingly antiquated formatting requirements. And then -- joy of joys -- the academic death march that is the prospect of collecting all of those note cards, knowing full well that many students will likely have raced their way through them on their way into your classroom simply to meet arbitrary number quotas.
(Not to mention the inevitable soul-crushing defeat of having to RE-TEACH the entire note card formatting process all over again, when large groups of students actually sit down to write their research paper only to realize that their poorly constructed note cards won't do them a lick of good!).
For me, note cards used to be the single worst part of my teaching calendar. So I decided to turn the entire process into a game. As the old saying goes: "Anything goes with LEGO."
Suddenly, I've got kids literally fist pumping and high-fiving when their note cards meet the quality control standard...
Or gleefully stealing note cards from classmates when they spot work by a friend who they think has done a particularly strong job of formatting...
While 99% of my grading gets done on the spot...
And it's literally become one of my students' favorite days of the school year.
(And we use some pretty awesome BreakoutEDU-inspired Escape Rooms
, Fantasy Football Literary Character Mock Drafts
, and full-month long Basketball Bracketology Tournaments
. So that's saying something!)
Ready to play!?
This massive digital download will get you everything you need to set up a two-day note card review activity that will turn research into teamwork and transform note cards into towers, with students self- and peer- reviewing literally HUNDREDS of examples of high quality work from their peers while they race against the clock and their classmates in an effort to construct the most impressive LEGO towers before time expires!
More product specifics:
+ 19 full-color slides of a Google Slides presentation for classroom presentation, with student-friendly instructions and embedded countdown timers for each round of play
+ 11 page teacher instruction manual, fully illustrated, with two full days of pedagogy and lesson planning outlines to implement step-by-step note card activities with free online tools and physical LEGO bricks
+ 4 different player types to choose from, with "special powers" designed to appeal to different types of learners and gamers alike
+ Fully editable Google Slide templates with embedded mini-lessons on thesis formatting, research paper structure, and note card formatting.
Full disclosure: in addition this digital resource, you'll need:
+ A big old tub of assorted LEGO bricks (about 1000 will work for a class of 20)
+ 5 measuring spoons
+ At least 4 dice (though more will make things go faster).
This high-energy product puts student-centered instruction at the heart of your classroom. It was a joy to create, and the gameplay of the activity is specifically designed to reward and validate students for demonstrating their knowledge of what constitutes only the highest quality note cards -- so it can be used again and again and tailored to any additional needs of your content area or curriculum.
Through the activity's perpetual kinesthetic nature and teamwork-driven mechanics, even students who might not have arrived to class with 100% top quality note cards still get to spend two days literally scouring through HUNDREDS of examples of peer work products. So the activity itself teaches and reteaches the value of using note cards as "building blocks" for long-form research.
Thanks for checking out my store, and "have fun storming the castle!"