How to Play Sparkle in the Classroom

How To Play Sparkle in the Classroom - Light Bulbs and Laughter Blog
I've been blogging about teaching multiplication lately, and have mentioned playing a game called Sparkle as part of our memorization process.  Today I thought I would explain how we do this in my classroom.

Basically we are skip counting by ones, twos, etc.  We call this "Secret Code Sparkle," because we're just cool like that. =) 

This is a cooperative practice game that requires listening skills.  If a student is talking, they will not know the answer.  Uh-oh.  They learn pretty quickly to pay close attention to what is going on.  It also teaches students how to handle the frustration of being out of the game, whether they have made a mistake, or through no fault of their own.  (I have students model good and bad ways to respond when they get "sparkled".  I have found that third graders also need to learn how to be gracious winners,  so we model that, too.)

Here are the basic rules:

1. Have your students stand in a large circle around the outside of the classroom.

2. The teacher stands in the middle.

3. NO moving once you have found your spot!

4. The teacher chooses a number from 1 - 10 and points to a random student, saying, for example, "Count by twos to twenty, GO!"  (The teacher holds up two fingers while always facing the student who is speaking, in case they forget the factor being used.)  Be careful at this point!  If they get going really fast, you could get very dizzy!

5. The first student repeats the number, the next student (going clockwise) says the next skip counting number, and so on, until the original number has been multiplied by ten.

6.  When the last number is stated, the next student says, "Sparkle!"

7. The student after the sparkle student sits down.  They are out of the game.

8. If a student says the wrong number, or takes too long to answer, they must sit down.  (Because of Whole Brain Teaching, the entire class says, "It's cool!" when someone makes a mistake - making it much easier for students to handle!)

9. The last student (or students - you decide when to stop) standing get a reward.  This can be anything: first choice for centers, an extra minute of recess, first in line to lunch, a reading buddy (stuffed animal) on their desk during quiet reading, a lollipop, etc.  Whatever is a reward in your classroom.

(I know that many of us have special needs students in our classroom.  I have found that my students naturally give more wait time when it's needed, and extra positive feedback for a correct answer, etc.  I do allow certain students to "sit out" the game, if they are having a bad day.)

There are many variations on this theme:

A. Use spelling words every Friday before the test.

B. Use vocabulary words, but instead of spelling them, the first student defines the word, and the second must use it in a sentence.  (This works best with smaller groups during centers.)

C. Use parts of speech.  Say, "Give me 5 verbs, GO!",  "Give me seven nouns, GO!", etc.

We have a lot of fun practicing what we have learned with this game, while learning important listening skills, speaking skills, and social skills.  Do you use this game in your classroom?  I would love to hear other ways that it is used!  Please let me know in the comments.

Happy Teaching With Sparkle,

21 comments:

  1. I love this game! thanks so much. I will use it with my class

    Greetings from Spain

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  2. I love this game! thanks so much. I will use it with my class

    Greetings from Spain

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  3. I'm so glad you can use it. Have fun! (Greetings from Central California) =)

    Denise

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  4. I have used this with spelling. When the last student said "Sparkle", they sat down, not the person after them. It is really neat to hear of other ways to use this for review, thanks!

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    1. I love all the variations in this game! Thanks for sharing. =)

      Denise

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  5. I have used this game in spelling for years. We switch it up and let the next student say "safe" and if they say it before the student says "sparkle," they are not out. We gave also used a " buzz" letter. Teacher picks a letter. Every time that letter is in the word thru have to say "buzz" instead of the letter. My students love this game! Thanks for the ideas on other uses.

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    1. I've never heard of the "safe" idea, they would really have to be paying attention! And the "buzz" letter is a great idea. Thanks for expanding my Sparkle choices, Charlene!

      Denise

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  6. Last year my son came home from school talking about this game. He tried to explain it to me I never got it. Your explanation made a lot more sense can't wait to try it in my classroom.thank you

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  7. Thanks for the variation on Sparkle, I have played it for a number of years with my students. We do it for spelling and the only ones that sit down are those who get the letter wrong, it really does make the children listen. I will also try some of your other suggestions. Thanks for taking the time to post them.

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  8. We've played this game with spelling words. The next two students after the last one say sparkle & whoever says it second sits down.

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  9. Thanks for sharing how to play the Sparkle Game. I'm suggesting teachers check out your blog so they can learn to play a great game to practice spelling in my www.simplyscience.com blog!

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  10. Thanks for the variation of the game! I've only used it with spelling but I love the idea of using it for math! Thank you for sharing!☺

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  11. Thanks for the variation of the game! I've only used it with spelling but I love the idea of using it for math! Thank you for sharing!☺

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  12. I love the variations! I've only used it for spelling, but now I see I can use it for many more ideas!

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  13. I play Sparkle with spelling words differently. I form two teams. When a team is given a word, each child on that team says a letter of the word. If a person on the team hears an error, they can say "sparkle", and the next person begins to try to spell the word correctly. In this way, no one has to sit down. If the word is spelled incorrectly and it is not noticed by the next person, the word goes to the opposite team. A point is given for a correctly spelled word.
    Example: "People" First child "p" , Second child "e", Third child "p", Fourth Child, "Sparkle", Fifth child starts again: "P" ,etc. As long as the very next child discovers the error and says "sparkle", the word remains with that team to try and spell correctly. In this game, no one sits down and everyone remains engaged.

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    1. I love this idea with team and the word sparkle as a "do over/begin again" this is motivating team building. I think it be also good to write the letters as they are said for visual learners maybe a small white board and marker so the team writes each letter as they say it and if they use sparkle cross out all the letters "begin again" Thanks to all who share their ideas. Better together!

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    2. I love this idea with team and the word sparkle as a "do over/begin again" this is motivating team building. I think it be also good to write the letters as they are said for visual learners maybe a small white board and marker so the team writes each letter as they say it and if they use sparkle cross out all the letters "begin again" Thanks to all who share their ideas. Better together!

      Delete
  14. Thanks! I am going to use this in my music class tomorrow! We love having fun Fridays so I try to teach a new game (where they learn something and don't realize it). Tomorrow we will use Sparkle to practice our notes on the lines or spaces of the Bass and Treble Clef. I can't wait to watch them enjoy another Friday!

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