Keeping things fun and engaging on a daily basis in the classroom can be a challenge sometimes. I find that implementing new and fresh ideas on a normal basis keeps my kids on the edge of their seats and more willing to interact with the skill we are learning. This is a list of some of my favorite classroom review games that I rotate in and out throughout the year to keep things exciting for elementary students. Anytime I am going to be teaching something that may not be the “most” interesting subject, or I feel we need a change in routine, these are my go-to games. These 9 classroom review games could work for any skill and any subject!
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Spin the Wheel
This is a great “game” that can be done for review or while you’re introducing new content. Each time a student answers a question, they get to come up to the board and spin the wheel. This is the website I use for virtually spinning the wheel: https://wheeldecide.com/
For example, we may be going over a reading passage together as a whole class under the document camera. If someone raises their hand to tell me what the answer is, what background knowledge they used, what paragraph the proof is, what they’re inferring right now, etc.—they get to spin the wheel! It’s a great way to encourage every student to want to answer so you don’t see the same five hands going up over and over again.
This website allows you to add anything you want to the wheel selections. You can add in choices like “No Homework Pass”, “New Pencil”, “New Eraser”, “Sticker”, “Dojo Point”, or anything else you’d like. Sometimes, I put points on the wheel and whichever student or team has the most points at the end of the class period wins.
The possibilities with this website are endless for playing classroom review games. You can have them spin for points, spin to choose who goes next, spin for prizes, etc.
There’s another variation you can use this game for as well…partner work! When students are working in partners, if they finish their work together well, or score a certain percentage correct when I check it, I’ll let both partners go spin the wheel as a reward for their hard work. This can be a great motivator for students who may be a little shy working together. When they know there is a potential “prize” at the end, it helps them overcome that hesitancy and work together to reach a common goal. You might also like this REAL wheel. I bought one a few years ago and love to pull it out to surprise the kids with every once in a while.
Wheel of Names
This is a great website as well: https://wheelofnames.com/
I use this “game” for names getting picked. I may let that person choose their practice partner first. That person may get to answer a question. That person may get to choose someone else who is going to answer the question. It’s just a fun way to keep things interesting on a daily basis.
I draw a big connect 4 board on the whiteboard that is very big. The grid is usually a 10×10 board of squares. Then I tell the kids that each row in my classroom is a different colored team (red, blue, green, yellow) and give the first person in that row a whiteboard marker in that color. If someone on the red team answers a question, they get to go put a red circle anywhere on the board they want. If someone else on the red team answers a question correctly, they get to put a second red circle anywhere they want (and then they have 2 in a row).
Then, if the green team answers a question, they’ll get to go up and put a green circle on the board. They might block the red team from getting 3 in a row. The first team to get 4 in a row wins. I’ve done this as a classroom review game for practicing content and have even used it as an indoor recess game because students love it.
All you need for this game is a basket (or trash can) and a piece of paper for each student. I happen to have these little baskets that look like basketball nets and they work perfectly too. Anytime a student answers a question correctly, they get to try and shoot the ball in the basketball can. I’ve seen this game referred to as ‘trashketball’ before as well.
This particular classroom review game really pulls in my classroom athletes. Sometimes we do this whole group and sometimes I let each set of partners take a basket to shoot points after each question they answer together.
This classroom review game is super simple. First, write everyone’s name on the board. Whoever answers a question correctly about literally anything gets to roll a dice. I use large ones that the whole class can view when they’re rolled across the floor. You could also roll virtual dice online. It’s easy to google “virtual dice” and then roll them whenever a student answers a question. Whatever points the student rolls, you add next to their name. I normally let the student actually add their own points to their name so they get a chance to move around a bit. The kids compete to see who can get the most points by the end of the class period. When we play this, I let the winner of the game be line leader for the day and they love it.
I’ve also done a variation of this game with “Class vs. Teacher”. Someone answers a question correctly and they get to roll the dice. I add the points to the class team. Then I roll and add my points. They see if they can beat my score. I get to roll every round and someone who answers a question gets to roll every round. If they beat my score, I give them that many minutes of extra recess at the end of the day.
Students only need a whiteboard and a marker for this classroom review game. Split the class in half and put half of the students on each team. Call up a student from each team and they bring their whiteboard/dry erase marker. I ask a question about the passage and they write the answer on their whiteboard (it might be as simple as writing ABCD or it might be “Guess what this word means?” or “What keywords should we underline?”). Whichever student gets it right wins a point for their team. If they both get it right, they both get a point.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
A lot of students enjoy classroom review games that are found on TV. That’s where Who Wants to be a Millionaire comes in! Split the class in half so there are two teams. But instead of calling up one person from each team, call up one person only from only one team. I rotate back and forth between the teams for each question. Each team’s points are kept track of on the board. But instead of just writing their points on the board, I also write three phrases: “Ask the Audience”, “Phone a Friend”, and “Cut It In Half”.
I explain that these are lifelines that can help students when they get stuck.
Here’s what the lifelines mean:
-Cut it in half means I take away two answer choice possibilities.
-Phone a friend means they can choose anyone on their team to go out in the hallway with. They get to talk to the friend in private about what they think the answer is and why and then they both come back in (30 second time limit).
-Ask the Audience means everyone on that team gets to vote for what the answer is. Then, the person gets to side with whoever they want (30 second time limit).
Each team only can use those lifelines once. So, if Johnny uses the “ask the audience” lifeline while he’s up for his team, no one else on his team can use it. I explain that he should only use it if he really is unsure.
My class has become good at assessing who really needs those lifelines versus who doesn’t and they’ll call out “Save it, you can do this. You got this!” Or, if it’s someone they know may need a little extra help, they’ll call out “Use a lifeline, we got you!”
Play Hangman (I actually like to use “Build A” games instead of Hangman but it’s played the same way. We may be building a flower or building a snowman instead of a person like in Hangman). First, you put all the letter choices on the board. Call on a student to answer a reading question. If they get it right, THEN they get to guess a letter on the Hangman (or “Build A…”) game. Each time a student gets called on, they can either A-guess a letter or B-try to solve the entire puzzle. They cannot do both. If they call out, they know they will not get called on to solve the puzzle. That helps a lot with students guessing when it’s not their turn. The student who solves the classroom review games puzzle gets a small prize from me like a pencil or eraser.
Deal or No Deal
On television, there are plenty of classroom review games. Another one is Deal or No Deal! Deal or No Deal is a game that does require a little bit of prep. However, it’s a classroom favorite and students’ eyes always light up when they see this on the board when they come in the room. I use dojo points as a reward but you could utilize any reward system with this classroom review game.
Here’s how to play:
Put 20 index cards on the board with tape. On the back, write a number of dojo points that it’s worth. You put a number from 1-20 on the front of each card. So, when kids are looking at the board, they should see 20 index cards numbered from 1-20 (they can be in numerical order, don’t need to be mixed up), BUT they don’t know what’s on the back of each one.
I explain to my class that a reward is on the back of each card. Some cards have 1 point written on them and the amounts go all the way up to 100. Whichever card they end up with at the end, they get to add those points to their Class Dojo account. Tell each kid to write their name on a sticky note and put it on the corner of their desk.
When a student answers a question correctly, they get to choose which number they want to stick their name on. Let’s pretend Johnny chooses Card #7 so he sticks his sticky note with his name on it on Card #7. Then, Molly answers a question correctly and chooses Card #5. All students do not get to see what’s on the back of the card till the very end of the game. They’re taking a risk.
Here’s where the twist comes in. Bobby may get an answer right and wants Card #7. He has two choices. He can choose a different card that hasn’t been claimed yet OR he can move the other person to another card number and take #7 for himself. To help with time constraints, I have a simple rule. If they move the other person’s name, they have to move the person’s name to the closest number nearby. That way, students aren’t standing there wondering which of 20 numbers they should bump the person to.
At the end of the game, I let all kids flip their cards over to see how many points they received. Everyone ends up with an amount no matter what.
Sometimes, we’ll play this individually as well. When they finish a worksheet or skill-based task, they’ll bring me their paper to grade. If I can tell they put forth their best effort, they get to go take any card off the board they want and see how many dojo points they just earned.
If they scored poorly on their assignment or did not try their best, they do not get to choose a card. However, they still have a chance to earn a card. Students can choose a partner that DID pass to help them go over their wrong answers. Then if they come back with the partner and can explain to me what they did wrong in detail, that student gets a turn to pull down a card on the board, AND the partner that helped them gets to choose an additional card. This method keeps everyone engaged and working so no one is bored.
Hopefully, these ideas help or spark an idea of how you can implement them in your own classroom!
You may also like to read about Hide and Seek Games. These are classroom review games that are pre-made for you. They can be used for any subject, any grade level, and with any content. They’re a great way to review before an assessment with any content or can be used to practice math facts any day of the week.