Monday, February 10, 2014

Heads Up for Vocabulary

Have you played the game, Heads Up, yet?  I played it at a dinner party recently.  It reminds me of the game Head Bandz with a digital twist. As I was playing it with my friends, I thought about how great it would be to use as a vocabulary review game with students.

Here's why I like it:
  • It is easy to prep.  All you need is an iPhone, or similar device, and a list of vocabulary words that your students have studied.
  • It's super fun!  Students love it.
  • It works well in small group settings like intervention or guided reading groups.
  • Most importantly, all students are actively working with vocabulary.
Getting ready:
Download the App to your device in advance.  Select the "Create Your Own Deck" and type in your vocabulary words.  You can continue to add to your deck throughout the school year.

Here's how you play:
  • One player holds the device up to his/her forehead.
  • A vocabulary word pops up on the screen.
  • The other players give clues to help the player guess the word (without using the word).
  • Once the word is guessed correctly, the player bows his head (or tilts the phone forward) so that a new word will pop up on the screen.
  • A player can "pass" on a word by tilting his head back (or tilting the phone backward).
  • Play continues for 60 seconds.
  • Player counts the words solved correctly.
  • The device is passed to another player and the game continues until everyone has a turn. 

For an extra challenge:
You can enforce 'the act it out - no words' rule.  I would highly recommend this option if you are using the game during guided reading groups in a regular education classroom.  The original version may distract other learners.

Want to learn more about boosting your students' vocabulary acquisition?  Join me over at Adventures in Literacy Land today and read my post, Falling in Love with Vocabulary, featuring the Six Steps to Effective Vocabulary Instruction.



  2. I keep hearing more and more great things about this game! I am going to definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing, Wendy!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. Does each person have to create the list on his/her own device or is there a way to share the list?