“Grab That Spoon!” A Fun Summer Training Game
Want a five-minute training game that takes no preparation beforehand? Want a high-energy game that engages all learners and that reviews training content in a fun and memorable way? Introducing: “Grab That Spoon!”
“Grab That Spoon” is a quick review game that lasts from five to ten minutes. It includes a dash of friendly competition but is low-risk enough that the competition doesn’t take away from everyone’s enjoyment of the game. It’s a game in which everyone participates regardless of the size of the whole class (five or fifty – it still works!). It’s a game that allows the learners to create the review content, to lead the game, and to debrief it afterwards. In other words, it’s a learner-created, learner-led, learner-centered game (as opposed to a game in which the trainer leads the game and acts as referee the entire time).
In addition, “Grab That Spoon” is a game that is especially suited for summertime because many cultures associate summer with picnics, good food, and lots of delicious goodies served with big spoons 🙂
Here are the instructions for “Grab That Spoon,” followed by a number of variations. Feel free to experiment with the game until you find what works best for your classes.
* 3×5 index cards (at least one per person)
* pens or pencils (one per person)
* large plastic or wooden spoons (one for each table group of 4 – 6 people).
Learners sit in small table groups of 4 – 6 people. On each table are pens/pencils, index cards, and one large spoon.
1. Each learner writes a review question and answer on a 3×5 index card. He/she also writes a point value for the question on the card (points between 1 – 5; 1 point = easy question (yes/no answer); 2 – 4 points = more difficult question (answer that requires sentences or more than one fact); 5 points = most difficult question (summary statement, explanation, multiple answers).
2. One spoon is placed in the middle of the table where each learner in the table group can reach it.
3. One person volunteers to be the first reader. The reader may NOT grab the spoon.
4. The reader reads aloud his/her question. The first group member to grab the spoon answers the question. If correct, the answerer gets those points. If incorrect, the answerer loses those points or stays at zero points.
5. Group members take turns being the reader and reading their question cards.
6. All groups play the game for five minutes (longer, if time permits). At the end of the time-limit, each person adds up his/her points. The person with the most points wins applause and high-fives from his/her group. Or there can be small token prizes too.
1. Play the game using an object related to the training – something easy to grab that also has to do with the training topic or theme. Examples: “Grab That Mouse” for a computer class, “Grab That Ear” with plastic ears for a communication course; “Grab That Key” for keys to customer service; “Grab That Number” with dice for financial training; “Grab That Whistle” for safety training. You can use items found in your home or office.
2. Give each learner from 2 to 4 index cards. At different times during the training, have them write on each card a new question/answer pertaining to what they just learned. Then, as an overall review, allow about 10 minutes near the end of the training to play the game.
3. Play one round (one question asked/answered) at a time and spaced throughout the training to make the game a short, high- energy, ongoing “break” from the lecture.
4. Instead of points, learners can play for chips or other small tokens. Each group gets a small pile of chips or tokens to use for the game. Or they can play for a card from a card deck and the person with the best poker hand at the end of the game wins.
5. If you, as the trainer, want to do the work, you can make up the questions and print them out, one set per group. Then each group plays the game with your questions/answers.
6. If you have time and choose to debrief the game afterwards, you can ask open-ended questions like:
* What was the most important thing you learned from the game?
* What was a question that your group discussed or debated the answer to?
* Was there a question with more than one right answer?
* What is a question you still have after playing the game?
A game is only as useful as its purpose and its content. “Grab That Spoon” reviews content in a quick, relevant, fun way that involves ALL learners. As such, it fits the bowl, uh, bill 🙂
FROM: The Ten-Minute Trainer ©2005 by Sharon Bowman
I teach 4th grade and am a trainer for adults. I appreciate that I can use your strategies for kids, too. Thanks!
Glad you can use the strategies with your 4th graders, as well as your adult learners, Stephanie. Some of the best adult instructors I’ve seen were elementary school teachers! Brain science is brain science, regardless of the age of the brain 🙂