January 7, 2014

Review Game: Twisted Sparkle

Happy Tuesday! As promised in my resolutions, I am starting off the year right with my first 2014 Tuesday Teaching Tip! Today, I want to share with you a review game that both my students and I love to play. It's also a great filler activity when you only have a few minutes left of class.

I'm sure many of you know the spelling game Sparkle:

1. Ask students to stand up (I usually keep them at their desks to keep things simple).
2. Teacher calls out a spelling word.
3. Students take turns (go down the line) spelling one LETTER each until the whole word is spelled.
4. When the word is finished, the next person simply says, "Sparkle!"
5. The next person is out and must sit down.
6. Teacher calls out a new word and the game continues until there is one person standing.

In my classroom, though, we play Twisted Sparkle, which adds the following rules:

1. No repeats.
2. I do not tell students when they are wrong. If a student says the wrong letter, the next student must say, "Miss!" and correct the student. Then, the student who said the wrong letter sits down. Sometimes, a student says the wrong letter, but 2 or 3 more students go before someone finally catches the mistake. When this happens, the original student with the wrong letter AND everyone who missed the mistake must sit down.
3. Offer a challenge! The student who should sit down after the sparkle is given a challenge word to spell solo. If done correctly, the student stays in the game.

In my experience, these rules help ensure that all students are silent and listening. There have been times when I've had up to 7 or 8 students sit down at once because they weren't listening to the peer who made a mistake. Trust me, they learn this quickly!

I like the challenge word option because it ensures that every student gets the opportunity to play along. I always felt bad for the first couple of kids who were "sparkled" out of the game before they even got to throw out a letter (some kids take this WAY too personally). This way, they have a chance to save themselves. It's easy enough for me to have a list of challenge words to keep these kids invested. Also, this keeps the game going longer because no one is automatically out after each word.


  1. Love this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Ooooohh...I like the idea of Twisted Sparkle. I will definitely have to do this!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. My daughter just told me about Sparkle and said she didn't get why the person gets sparkled without being able to play - I had no answer! Thank you- this is a great improvement and I will share with our teacher.