Want your students to be excited to practice spelling and vocabulary?? Who wouldn’t! You can easily get students to feel this way by using the game Hangman to practice! In order to correctly solve the word(s), students need to use their knowledge of words and letter patterns.
Hangman is seriously the easiest and most engaging way to practice theme vocabulary, sight words, etc. I begin by writing the alphabet in the upper corner of the board to create a visual and help students keep track of which letters have already been guessed.
Tip: Have the students watch you write the alphabet. Leave a few letters out and see if the students can fill in the missing letters.
Having the alphabet bank is also helpful for students who have devices for communication. They can match the letters to when it is there turn.
In the beginning of the school year, we were doing one word at a time. By mid year, we usually do it with a sentence.
When we get to the point where one or 2 letters are missing from a word we talk about which letter would make sense there. For example, in the above photo, we figured out the word bus first. Then, we talked about the different types of buses to help them make good guesses with the word ‘city’.
After we solved the puzzle (city bus), we use the community unit theme words to talk about where you could go on the city bus, where you wait for the city bus, etc.
Another fun option is to have the puzzle be a question that the students have to answer once they have solved the puzzle. For example, one of the questions we used during our food pyramid unit was “What food group is milk in?” After solving the puzzle, students then had to be able to answer the question.
Tip… add in sound effects! We say, “Ding, ding, ding!” when the correct letter is guessed. We make a buzzer sound for incorrect guesses. My kiddos LOVE the sound effects. It is helpful for getting them engaged when you first introduce the game.
The best part of this game is that you can very easily do it in mixed level groupings. No matter where students are in learning their reading skills, there is an aspect that they can engage with.
Read more about mixed groups: