Sentence Challenge Game

by Valeria D. Davis-Clemons

Currently assigned to Robert Fulton Academics and Athletics Magnet School as a Fourth Grade Teacher of the Gifted and Talented.

Instructional Objective The learners shall be able to use the card game to practice/reinforce formulating complete sentences.

Learners/Context The learners are students currently enrolled at Fulton Magnet School. They are 4th graders who have been placed into the GATE cluster class. Some have been identified as Gifted/Talented. Most of the others are high achievers. The school's curriculum has been developed to provide opportunities for the students to experience learning in a "whole language" approach and to be enhanced through various educational means.

Rationale Because it is of the utmost importance that the students are able to write complete sentences, it is necessary for them to practice constructing them. However, it is not always essential that this practice take place as a written assignment. In fact, it is often a good idea to get away from written exercises when possible. In order to "reach" those kinesthetic learners who learn by doing, other alternatives must be provided. This card game helps in meeting that need.

The students, when working in small groups (about four to six), can develop the card game themselves, either manually or by using a HyperCard template of the card deck. This provides a team building activity by making each student responsible for an intricate part of the game. Too, the students will be further motivated to learn how to construct sentences because they have been a part of the process in making the game. They would want to be good at it!

Process It is important that the students have an idea as to what constitutes a complete sentence. They should know that the group of words that they arrange to call a sentence should "express a complete thought," hence, the prerequisite to playing the game.

Once the students have an understanding of what a sentence is, the teams can begin making the cards. Each team is given a word list which is divided equally among the team members. As the teams complete their card sets, the teacher will explain and demonstrate the rules of the game.

Time will be provided at the end of each "play" session for the students to give feedback about the exercise and the process of development.

Rules The game is for two (2) to four (4) players. It is played in the following manner:

1. Shuffle the deck of cards. Determine the first person to play. The person to the right deals twelve (12) cards to the first player and then starts the two (2) minute timer. The remaining cards are placed face down.

2. The player uses the words on the cards that were dealt to him to construct a sentence.

3. When the player is finished, or at the end of two (2) minutes, the player reads the sentence he has constructed.

4. If it is agreed that it is a complete sentence, the player is awarded the points assigned to each card that was used.

If all of the cards that were dealt are used to construct the sentence, an additional 10 points are awarded.

If a sentence is constructed but all of the cards are not used, 2 points are subtracted from the total for each unused card.

If a sentence is not constructed within the 2 minute time frame no points are awarded.

5. Once the score has been tallied and recorded, the player (the new dealer) deals a set of twelve (12) cards to the person on his left, and starts the 2 minute timer.

6. A game ends when: a) all of the cards have been dealt, or b)the score of any player reaches or comes closest to an agreed total (200 points suggested).

The person with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Variations The game design / rules could be adapted to be a greater challenge to the players in the following manner.

1. Challenging vocabulary words could be added to the deck.

2. More word cards could be dealt to the player. This would create the challenge of constructing a longer sentence.

3. When sentences are not constructed for the cards that are dealt 2 points could be taken for each card or 10 points could be taken for the "hand".

Card Design

Design Process The design was developed with specific learners and instructional problems in mind. It could be adapted to increase the challenge with minor modifications.

The following word list, along with their value points, is used to construct the 138* cards for the game deck. There are also 6 WILD (*) cards, giving the deck a total of 144 cards. The wild cards may be used as any word desired. However, once the word is stated, it cannot be changed during that hand.

Note: There are several words that are duplicated in the deck. These duplicates could be done at a later time.


a(2) 1 air 2 also 3        hear 3 heart 4 held 3      saw 2 she 2 slow 3 small   
and(2) 2 any 2 are(2) 2    her 2 him 2 his(2) 2       4 smart 4 so 1 some 3      
arm 2 as 1 at 1 baby 3     house 4 how 2 human 4      start 4 stop 3 such 3      
back 3 bad 2 be(2) 1 big   I(2) 1 if 1 in(2) 1 is 1   take 3 that(2) 3 the(2)    
2 blue 3 both 3 box 2      it(2) 1 lady 3 later 4     2 their 4 them 3 these 4   
but(2) 2 came 3 can 2      laugh 4 lazy 3 left 3      they 3 this 3 time 3       
case 3 clean 4 clear 4     let 2 lift 3 like 3 live   to(2) 1 told 3 too 2       
cold 3 cute 3 did 2 do 1   3 lost 3 love 3 made 3     took 3 turn 3 ugly 3 us    
does 3 eye 2 face 3 fat    man 2 may 2 me 1 most 3    1 use 2 very 3 walk 3      
2 fine 3 foot 3 found 4    my 1 new 2 next 3 no 1     want 3 was 2 we(2) 1       
from 3 funny 4 gave 3      not 2 now 2 of 1 off 2     what 3 when 3 where  4     
girl 3 good 3 got 2        old 2 on 1 one 2 or 1      which 4 who  2 why  2      
green 4 had 2 hand 3       our 2 out 2 part 3 same    will 3 with 3 work 3 you   
hate 3 have 3 he 1         3                          2 your 3 young 4