A Twist on the Headband Game!

 

Here’s a fun, new, twist on the classic Headband Game that makes it reusable and adaptable to any subject and any level!  AND it gets the kids up and moving as they learn, so that’s an even greater bonus!!!!  This awesome idea was suggested by a participant in one of my workshops when I presented the Sight Word Headband Game and wondered aloud how to make this adaptable to kids in higher grades that learn their new words much more quickly.  So I tried it out myself, and voilá!  It worked out great!  My own class has done this now a few times and they LOVE it!

 

So here is how it works; I’ll remind you of the my original version first.  With the original Sight Word Headband Game, I wrote a word on a strip of paper and formed it into a headband.  The kids all put one on, and then walked around the room and wrote the words that they found on their friends’ heads next to their friends’ names on a sheet of paper.

 

Now with this second “twist” on this “Advanced” Headband Game, all you need to do is make the headbands differently, folding them first at the bottom to form a pocket that will hold a flash card that can be changed.  Once you have a good, sturdy, adjustable headband with a pocket for a flash card, all you have to do is come up with a question, clue, equation, or picture that prompts the children to write the desired answer. Have each child slip the card into the headband, put it on, and the game can start!  You will also need a class list with a place next to each name (and/or photo) for the children to write their answers, of course!  Your kids will also need something to write on as they walk around, and a pencil.  I have a class set of clipboards that I’ve had “forever,” but some hardback books will also work.  My students have always seemed to LOVE walking around with a clipboard!  It makes them feel “big!”  LOL!

 

Here’s how to make the headbands:  (Note:  I recommend you make just one first, and try it on an average sized child in your class before making the rest.  Also, make a few extra, just in case one rips.)

1. Cut a piece of construction paper into a six by 18 inch strip.

 

2. Fold the bottom edge up lengthwise by about one and a half inches.

 

3. Fold the remaining piece of the construction paper backwards (lengthwise again) so that the headband is doubled for strength.  Now you should have one long piece of paper with a pocket or “lip” that can hold a flash card.

 

4. To make the extension piece at the back of the headband:  cut another piece of construction paper six inches by four inches.  Fold it in half lengthwise.  This will hold the rubber band that will make it adjustable.

 

5. Fold both ends of the extension piece and slip the rubber band into the fold.  Staple it onto both ends of the headband.

 

And now you have a good, sturdy, headband with a pocket that will fit ANYONE in the class!

 

Here are some topics that I think would work well with these headbands:

Beginning Sounds:  put flash cards with pictures and have the children write the beginning (or middle or ending!) sounds.  You can find flash cards with pictures here.

Words:  put flash cards with pictures and have the children write the whole word, such as CVC words, or any other words (CCVC, CVCC, CCVCC, etc.)  You can find CVC flash cards here or here.

Colors:  put a colored piece of paper in the pocket and have the children write the color word.  I think it’s okay that kids write a word more than once!

Shapes:  put a flash card with a picture of a shape on the hat, and have kids try to draw it.  If children are old enough to spell it, they can do that, or even write how many sides or vertices it has.  You can find pictures of the shapes here.

Phonics:  put flash cards with pictures in the hats and have the children write the chunks (diphthongs and digraphs.)  You can find pictures here or here.

Subitizing:  put dot cards or large dominoes in the hats and have the kids write the numeral.

Number Recognition:  put a flash card of a number in the hat, and have kids draw that many dots or items.

Equations:  put a flash card of a simple equation in the hat and have kids write the answer.

Spelling:  if you can come up with a clue for a word (or even a picture!), then kids can spell it.  I taught my kids to spell the days of the week and the months, and wrote, “Month 2” and “Day 5” on index cards to give them a clue.  (These were my second graders. See the photo below!)

Here are some more ideas that are especially good for older kids such as my second graders:  synonyms, antonyms, vocabulary, true and false questions, opinion or fact questions, homophones, identify the suffix, prefix, or base word, write the plural spelling, name the greater or lesser number or fraction, what time is it on the clock, etc., etc., ETC.!!!!

 

Some Tips to Make The Headband Game Go Smoothly

1. Establish rules first!  Of course, you’ll want to remind your kids that there will be no running inside, right?  Also, they needed to keep their voices low, etc.  I also told my “lively” group that if they didn’t follow the rules that we would not do this game again for a while; it was up to them.  My students this year definitely do best with structure, and I want them to do well.

2. Establish a minimum amount of questions that they need to finish.  That may be all of them or just some of them; it’s up to you!

3. If some of your students tend to finish assignments quite rapidly (but others not so much,) make sure you tell them NOT to remove their headbands until EVERYONE is finished!  Otherwise, the children that are finishing up will not be able to continue because they won’t know what to write next to someone’s name if they have removed their headband and put it back in the tub, etc.

4. Tell them not to rip their headbands!  None of my kids did, but I reminded them that if they wanted to play again, we wouldn’t be able to play if several headbands were ruined.

 

I hope you enjoy this game!  Please let me know if you have any more great ideas!!!

-Heidi 🙂

 

P.S. Check out our new Number Jumble DVD! We’ve added numbers 11-30!! (The 0-10 version is still available for the time being!)

 

 

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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com. Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.
  1. I think this is a brilliant idea and I’m definitely going to incorporate it into my classroom. I am currently teaching k/1 in Canada. I have an idea to make the headbands easier to make… what about using a clear adhesive pocket on the front that you can slip the flash card into? I think they call these “badge holders” or something similar. I found them at the Dollar Tree for $2.00. They hold slightly bigger than a business card sized paper. And then I think I might also laminate my headbands with packing tape so they would be more durable.

    • That’s a WONDERFUL idea! If you make them, will you send me a photo, or comment here with a photo? I can update the blog and post it so others can benefit from your idea too! I think that most people might not read the comments.
      Thanks!
      Heidi

  2. I LOVE it! I can see adding definition to the cards in the headbands and having my fourth graders write the word that goes with the definition….science vocabulary…math vocabulary…could also have math equations that they have to find the solution to and write the sum or difference on their papers. Thanks for sharing!

    • YES! So true, all of it! My only issue has been with some of my kids that tend to write more slowly. They get less done than my faster workers, so I’ve had to manage that. Let me know how what other adaptations you think of and how you manage it!
      ??
      Heidi

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