Thursday, December 12, 2013

EDUCATION: Game Show Buzzers!

One of the most challenging parts of playing games with groups of kids is determining who raises their hand first when answering questions during the game. The answer to that is in using game show buzzers and I've found some that are very fun. Try using them for confirmation, Sunday School, or youth activities!
Check these out!

Honking Horn, Boxing Bell, Doorbell, and Boing! at ABC & Toy Zone or Trainer's Warehouse- (4 for about $20)
Lights and Sounds:  Laser, Buzz, Charge!, and Siren at Trainer's Warehouse - (4 for about $25) These also light up!
Cow, Rooster, Horse, Dog at Trainer's Warehouse - (4 for about $20)

You can also get them all at for about the same prices. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

EDUCATION: Questions, Questions, Questions

One of the most important things educators do is ask questions. Students don't ask bad questions but believe it or not, teachers do. There actually are good questions and bad questions. Bad questions usually have a 'yes' or 'no' answer, have an obvious answer, have the answer within the question, or make students (adults included) guess. Good questions elicit information, shape understanding, or press for reflection. The more good questions you ask the more you make people think and that is the goal of increasing faith. The more you think about it the deeper it becomes. If you need examples of good or different types of questions see my CONFIRMATION RESOURCES page. There is a sample there that can be downloaded.

Here are a few creative questioning suggestions:

  • Have a huge jar and whenever you think of a good thought provoking question put it inside the jar. Whenever you have a few minutes left in class go to the question jar and pull one out to challenge your students. If you add questions from the past (or put them back in the jar) it can be a great way to do a confirmation review.
  • Separate questions into 6 topics and have a small bucket or jar for each topic. Have students roll a die to see which topic they will choose and let them pick a question out of the bucket.
  • Try the idea above but don't use the buckets. The teacher/facilitator can  simply have a list of questions, students can roll the die to get their topic and the teacher can read the question.
  • Ball pit. I recently heard of an idea where you have a big pit (or bucket or trash can) of plastic balls with a question taped to each ball. A student then reaches into the pit and pulls out a ball. That question can be answered by him/her, by a group of students, or s/he can toss it to a person they choose. (Make sure everyone has the opportunity to answer.  
  • Write the questions on colored (or color coded for different topics or categories) index cards and give students the opportunity to "pick a card - any card" and answer the question. Try and add a few wild cards that will give them the chance to pass a question to another person or group or to choose again. If they pick one of those cards they can either use it then or save it for later. 
Remember that if you aren't comfortable putting one student on the spot you can always have them work in pairs or small teams to choose and answer questions.