Jenga In the Classroom

This is definitely not my original idea, I got the idea from the fabulous Elementary Shenanigans. :) This is how I have used it, and some tips I have learned along the way!

How I created my Jenga set:
I bought a set from Target to get started, but I will be keeping my eyes on garage sales and dollar stores. I know others have found them there. I went ahead and spent the $10 to get going though. Then I bought these neon labels (so cheap!) and cut them in half. I was able to use one label per block and had some left over. You want to make sure to put a label on both sides of each block so it doesn't matter how they are stacked.

Why the different colors?:
The different colors allow you to have options when your students play the game. I have used the different colors to represent different types of questions. For example: to do a language arts review I can use the four colors to represent different types of questions (parts of speech, possessives, conjunctions, and punctuation.) I have also used the colors to differentiate questions for students. For example: Students A and B need to draw pink/yellow blocks and answer those questions and students C and D need to draw green/orange blocks and answer those questions. I can have the pink/yellow and green/orange questions meet those students' specific needs.

I have also used a reading passage or poem and had question cards that went with them. This works well too! I would suggest having students read the passage/poem beforehand, then having it accessible to refer to during the game. 

Set Up:
I leave the same set of cards out for a few weeks. It takes students that long to get through all of the questions. All I do is find the cards I want students to practice. Before I cut out the task cards, I put a color stripe across the back so it is easy to separate the cards into the four colors. 

I put all of the cards in a ziploc bag. I keep the task cards, recording sheets, score sheet, timer, and Jenga blocks in a bin. Students separate them and make stacks when they begin the game. Each student needs a clipboard, pencil, and the answer recording sheet. I created a pretty generic recording sheet that all students use to record every answer. The group comes over, gets the game set-up, and starts playing.

How we play: 
  1. Assign one student to be scorekeeper. This student grabs a score sheet and puts everyone's name on it.
  2. Whichever student goes first (we usually go with student who has the next birthday to keep it fun!) flips over the 1 minute timer and chooses a block to pull. The student has 1 minute to remove a block and place it on top of the stack. This keeps the game from becoming about the blocks, and more about the questions! Pulling and successfully placing a block on top is worth 1 point for that player.
  3. The student then grabs a card that matches the color block chosen and reads the question and answers out loud to the group. 
  4. After reading the card, the student places it down for everyone to see. (you can see this below in the photo).
  5. Every student secretly answers the question on their recording sheet and flips their clipboard over when ready. This makes it easy for everyone to know who is ready and who is still working. 
  6. Once all clipboards are down, the students share their answers and decide on the correct answer. If they can't decide on the correct answer, they put the card to the side and choose a different card. When I meet with this group we will go over any cards the group couldn't figure out. 
  7. Score keeper gives every student who got the question correct 1 point on the score sheet. 
  8. Next player goes! 
You can see in the picture below, under the green question section the students had to add an extra box because I included more question cards than I thought I had. I just teach the kids to add an extra row in any blank space because I will PROBABLY make a mistake. I also teach them to cross off questions that I haven't included (sometimes I pull a card out if it doesn't pertain or they aren't ready to practice that skill on their own). Easy-peasy!

Tips I have learned:
  • Every student should answer every question. It keeps all kids engaged and answering more questions!
  • The timer - saved my sanity after kids were trying to spend all of their time picking blocks "strategically." Yeah, I see you kid! Ha!
  • Points - The student who picks a block on their turn can get one point for doing so, AND a  point for getting the answer right. So, when it is your turn - a possibility of 2 points. Every other student can only get the correct answer point. 
  • Scorekeeper - It is helpful to keep the score sheet on a separate clipboard to easily display to all players.
  • Knocking the tower over - If a student destroys the tower when they pull a block, that student loses 2 points. They build the tower up again and keep playing!
  • Prize for winners? The prize is the student who ends the game with the highest points gets to knock the tower over when it is clean-up time. That's it! LOL! :)
  • Students keep their recording sheets and the scorekeeper also keeps the score sheet - everyone brings their papers back next time they get to play and pick up where they left off. You could set-up somewhere to house the papers so they don't get lost. I may do this next year because I will be in 2nd grade. My 3rd graders were pretty good about keeping their papers though because they loved playing so much.

Here are my recording sheets I use, for FREE! Just click below to get the recording sheets and score sheet. 
 Recording Sheets Freebie
Questions? Just ask and I will answer! :)

1 comment

  1. Interesting post. I Have Been wondering about this issue, so thanks for posting. Pretty cool post.It 's really very nice and Useful post.Thanks Best Jenga Games in 2018



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