Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday's Torch Story

Secrets are made to be found out with time.
~ Charles Sanford

In my continuing quest to go over-the-top when planning our ESL classroom activities, I've come up with a secret message game to practice conjugating verbs. ;)

Does anyone remember that old board game (based on a TV game show) "Password"? There were game cards that you couldn't read, until you slid them into the magic decoder sleeve - with a red filter. Once the information was behind the red filter - voila! - suddenly you could read it!

Well, I thought I'd put my students in pairs and give each one a card and magic decoder sleeve. For each item, one card would have the verb conjugation problem and the other card would have the answer. And the cards would alternate, so that each student was solving half the problems and knowing the right answer to double-check his/her partner on the other half of the problems.

This way, the student pairs can work independently and all I have to do is wander around the classroom, making sure that everything was going smoothly.

So, how do I make these cards and magic decoder sleeves? A little internet research turned up the answer! It's not difficult - although it will be a bit hard on the red ink supply in my printer... :(

I write the messages in a fat, dotted blue font (see first row in figure below) and create a box with a red checked pattern (see second row).

When the overlay is on top of the text (see third row in the figure above), it's difficult (although not completely impossible) to read the text underneath. But when you slide this behind a red filter, it becomes easy (well, easier, at least) to read the text.

I can see what you are thinking... Why not just write the problems and the answers on pieces of paper and pass them out?

Oh, come on - where's the fun in that? ;)

Besides, who needs red ink in their printer anyways? ;)

(I'll probably make back-up pages, just in case anyone has too much trouble reading the words inside the magic decoder sleeve...)

So, that's the craziness I'm up to this week. Stay tuned for my next adventure in flying dangerously in the face of the basic "KISS" principle of life! ;)


marysews said...

That looks and sounds like fun. I'm looking forward to reading about their reactions.