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Sparkle: A New Approach to an Old Favorite


You never know when you are going to need to "wing it" as a substitute. Maybe you've been called in at the last minute for an emergency. Maybe you don't have all of the materials you need for the lesson plans. Perhaps you've followed all of the plans (and all of the back up plans) and you still have fifteen minutes to fill. You can never have too many options in your bag of tricks. This fun, no prep classroom activity will engage students in virtually any classroom. It's a twist on an old favorite.

Most students and teachers are familiar with the game Sparkle. It is traditionally used to review spelling words. The class stands in a circle, and when a word is given, players take turns saying the next letter in the word until the last letter is called. The next student says "Sparkle!" and the following student is out. Play continues until all of the players but the winner are seated. It's fun and easy, but it's also a very versatile game.

Try playing Sparkle to review skip counting. Students list the first 12 multiples of a number: 2, 4, 6... 22, 24, Sparkle! You can adjust this game based on grade and readiness. First and second graders might skip count by 2's and 5's. Third and fourth graders might skip count by 4's or 6's. Depending on student behavior and the size of the classroom, you might also have students play by standing at their desks or in small groups. Secondary students can experiment with exponents, the Fibonacci sequence or other patterns.

Your students will be excited to experiment with this engaging twist on a beloved activity. How might you adjust this fun favorite to fit your students' needs?

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