One of Jimmy Fallon’s favorite games to play with his guests is Word Sneak.
The rules are pretty simple: Players receive a random set of words, and are instructed to sneak them into a casual conversation or story.
What makes this segment so interesting is that since the words have no connection to one another, a casual conversation is next to impossible to pull off. So these impromptu dialogues are entertaining, absurd, and sometimes downright hilarious.
Watch Jimmy Fallon and Steve Carell attempt to have a casual conversation using words given to them by the director in this Word Sneak video clip.
|Tonight Show Clip|
Word Sneak is a fun way for students to apply and review vocabulary words in any subject area. What students are actually being asked to do is use their vocabulary words in sentences - but since Word Sneak is being presented in a game format, it doesn’t feel like a traditional use-the-words-in-sentences exercise.
Sometimes, I have students practice in pairs before I ask for volunteers to present publicly, but most of the time I ask for volunteers to play Word Sneak extemporaneously in the style of the Jimmy and Steve video clip.
On the Tonight Show, guests are each given 5 words. In the classroom, 3 words work best. Weaving 6 words into a conversation or storyline is far more manageable than 10, and more students get a chance to participate that way, too!
I use playing cards as game cards because they give the activity more of a game show feel - and because they make it easy for students to keep the cards in order (e.g. Jack, Queen, King).
|Verb Word Sneak|
Since kids tend to shuffle the cards as soon as they receive them, playing cards help them to reorder the cards once the activity starts. I also put the words and the definitions on the students’ cards so players can concentrate on their story ideas instead of having to recall the definitions first. The audience members, however, simply see the words projected on the screen as the players are using them.
It's easy to make your own Word Sneak game by attaching vocabulary labels to a deck of playing cards. If you want a shrink-wrapped verb deck/game you can find one on Amazon, or you can download a set of Verb Playing Cards featuring a Verb Word Sneak game display on TpT.
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That's it for now, so until next time...stay committed...teach with passion...and inspire students with who you are.