Friday, December 12, 2014

Heads Up is a Hoot and a Great Way to Review Vocabulary

If you have ever watched Ellen DeGeneres than you have probably seen her hilarious app called Heads Up.  The way heads up works is one person holds the iPad up to their head with the screen facing the group they are playing with.  The group gives hints to the person guessing the word on the screen until they either guess the word correctly or pass.  If they get it right they tilt the iPad down to get a point and the next word.  If no one has a good clue or the person doesn't seem to have any idea what the word is they can pass and get a different word by tilting the iPad up.  The app keeps track of the total number of words gotten correct and the number passed.  Your score is the total number of correctly guessed words.  The game costs 99 cents comes with its own "decks" (a fancy word for list of words to guess) such as Animals, Movies, Celebrities, Etc... But for an extra 99 cents you can purchase the "Create your Deck" option.  This is where the magic happens in the classroom.  I installed the app on ten different iPads and then had my wonderful student aid type in all of the words (around 30 words that were made up of people, places, vocabulary, key terms, etc...).  Once the iPads were loaded I gave my students a quick tutorial and played an example
game with them giving me clues while I held the iPad in the front of the class.  The funniest part was in my first class trying to have them give me clues for famous celebrities.  I just got tons of blank stares as the kids knew almost none of the names that came up (Barry Manilow, Gregory Peck, Sylvester Stylone) until one came up that they did recognize but I couldn't guess (I didn't know Beyonce's last name).  In may later classes I used the Animal deck and had much better success.  Once the example was done, each group got an iPad opened the app and started the fun.  To mix it up I had students keep track of what their best score was after two rounds.  This became the "score to beat" with a prize for anyone who beat it.  There was also a prize for the highest score of the period.  It was a blast to watch students having so much fun talking about the words that we had been studying in class.  There were definitely clues given that were outside of the content but I didn't mind that at all as it showed critical thinking with language.  Overall it was a great activity that I plan to use many more times in the future.