Monday, December 10, 2012


Fight! Fight! A playful way to have a "snowball fight" to review topics

I remember in high school one teacher, who I can't remember exactly...either an English or History teacher, had us push the desk and chairs to each side of the class making two "trenches." We balled up old quizzes, tests, and homework, and for about five minutes threw the paper balls back and forth at each other. I can't remember the point of the lesson, but I do remember it was lots of fun! So when Lee Adams told me about a review activity he played involving balled up paper I was hooked. He thinks he got it from The Accelerated Learning Handbook.

  1. Basically each student gets a piece of scratch paper (be it homework that you accidentally photocopied with a typo and it thus is trash or any other one side free page). I often tell them they can use old math or chemistry assignments to get more of a cathartic relief. 
  2. On the paper they legibly write a question in English from something that we covered (or that I have told them will be on the test). 
  3. They each ball up the piece of paper and wait.
  4. Once everyone is ready set a timer for 30 seconds (if you have an IWB or projector I suggest the bomb countdown). 
  5. Let chaos break out as the students have 30 seconds to pelt the "snowballs" at one another (and probably the teacher too).
  6. When the timer goes off they have to grab the "snowball" closest to them. 
  7. The teacher takes turns calling on volunteers to read their question and come up with the answer.

As always, I can think of a few alternatives

  • Make the snowballs yourself. Now this is one less step for the students, but if you have specific things you want covered it may be better. Hand out the paper as though it were a one page quiz and then tell the students to ball it up! That will make them happy :-)
  • Make it a competition. My teenagers LOVE competing against one another. So do it like my high school teacher did. Divide the class into two groups. At the end if they answer their review question right, their team gets 10 points. If they don't get it right, let their team help them out and if as a team they are correct they get 5 points. (Let the other team steal after that for 5 points i f you wish)
  • Code it! Give each student a different color paper (or save the planet and use scratch paper that you've put different symbols onto). Tell them that a blue (or smiley face) paper is vocabulary, a green (or star) is relative clauses, a red (or circle) is short story, etc. That way they are still writing the questions, but you can promise a variety of categories at least. 
  • Use it for new vocabulary or grammar. Have them write a sentence with a blank for the vocab word (or draw a picture of the vocabulary word) OR have them write an example of the new grammar and the student has to guess the grammar (or vice versa, they write the grammar topic and the student would need to give a sample sentence).
So there we go, a great way to get the blood pumping in your class!

Would you use this in your class? Would you change it first? What other ideas does it give you?


  1. Hi Carissa - love this idea! I've reblogged it (with links back here) on my games for MFL classes blog (
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. So glad you found it helpful! Let me know if you ever get a chance to try it and how your students react.

  2. I have been using snowballs to simulate texting. It's a nice warm-up for a writing class or just a fun break from hard-work! I wrote up how it works here: Snowball Texting

    1. That looks like SUCH a fun adaptation Walton! I'll have to try it with some of my shyer classes :)

  3. This is incredible.... I love it and I`m gonna use it in my French classes:) I wish to stimulate my students!

    1. Give it a shot! You have to have good classroom control, but overall it is fun. If you use it in your class, please let me know how it turns out.


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