Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greek Pictionary

"Jackal . . . it's a jackal!"
One of the students in the Greek class I teach at my church recently suggested we try something new: playing Greek Pictionary.  This sounded like much more fun than a boring vocabulary quiz, so we gave it a try.  We focused on reviewing the vocabulary from four earlier chapters in our textbook.  I would write down a word (in Greek) from one of those four chapters, then pass it off to a volunteer who would try to get the rest of the group to guess the word by drawing on a dry-erase board.  To properly guess the word it needed to be written down in Greek (guessing the English definition was not enough).  It was fun!  Some thoughts if you test it out in your own ancient language classes:

  • If you're unfamiliar with the rules of Pictionary, check out good old Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictionary
  • Open book vs. closed book?  We did it open book, but if you wanted to make it more challenging, you could do it closed book.
  • Competitive or collaborative?  You could have the whole group working together to figure out the word, or you could break up into teams.
  • When people play Pictionary there are a lot of different strategies to get your team to guess the word.  For instance, if your word is "wellness" you might try to draw something that communicates the meaning of the word, like someone looking healthy.  Alternatively, you might draw some pictures that will get your team to guess the individual sounds that make up the word, a "sounds like" strategy.  So you might draw a picture of a water well to get them to say 'well' and then a picture of the Loch Ness monster to get them to say 'ness.'  If you want to crank up the difficulty level (maybe for a second year readings class?) you might prohibit your students from using any English words if they use a "sounds like" strategy.  If they want to do use this strategy they have to use Greek words.  So in the example I gave, they could not draw a water well to get someone to say the sound "well."  But they could draw a water well to get someone to say "phrear" (which is probably not going to help them at all).       
If you try it out, let me know how it goes!

After we played I did a little Internet search, and it looks like some homeschoolers are already finding this (and charades!) a fun way to learn Greek vocab.   

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