Reading: Ages 7-14
Let's eat some opposites! How about a piping hot Pop-Tart and an ice-cold glass
Divide students into 2
teams of two to five students each
You will need a
scorekeeper - perhaps the leader
Stopwatch or clock
with a second hand | Paper and pencil to keep score
Index cards and black
Leader should prepare
index cards in advance
Here's a quick team game focusing on
words that are opposites, and encouraging students to brainstorm examples of
each opposite. This is a fun way to build language fluency and fast thinking,
and stretch students' elaboration skills and creativity, all of which will help
with reading tasks in school.
In advance, the leader should print
a pair of opposites on each index card with a dark marker pen to make the words
very readable. Here is a list of 20. You can probably come up with dozens more:
Once you have the deck of cards
prepared, divide up the students into two teams of at least two students per
If you have a lot of students, you will have to
prepare several sets of cards, but you can use the same words in each set if
you wish. This is also fun to do again, after a few months have passed and
students have forgotten their responses the first time.
The players on each team should form
a line. Decide with a coin flip which team will go first.
Put the deck of cards with the
opposite words face down on a table between the two teams.
Start keeping time. Each team gets one minute per
The first student in the first team's line draws a
card and reads the pair of opposites aloud.
That player must then name something
that would represent one extreme of the opposites. So, for example, if the
opposites on the card are "Close
Far," the student might say "Close - Table" if there is a table in the
The scorekeeper should mark one
point for that answer.
Then the players on that person's
team can brainstorm together and list other things that would fit under the
word "Close." These would be OTHER things they can think of that fit the
definition of "close" that is the opposite of "far."
They should say these other words
aloud clearly so that the scorekeeper can hear them and give them one point for
each additional response that fits. They all have to be things that are close.
House across the street
Mother and daughter
As soon as the minute is up, the
scorekeeper should say, "Time!" and quit tallying, even if the students give
Now, after a few seconds to get
ready, the scorekeeper should start the 60-second time again, and the OTHER
team can begin brainstorming and saying aloud words that respond to the
opposite word, which in this example is "far."
They should say their words aloud
clearly for the scorekeeper to tally as many as they can come up with during
their 60 seconds.
Examples of responses to the word
Myself and the Presidency
My chances of making it in the NFL
It will quickly be apparent that the
second team can be using the other team's 60 seconds to brainstorm responses of
their own when it's their turn.
At the end of the second team's 60
seconds, the scorekeeper should again call "Time!" and tally up both team's
points for that round.
For the second round, put the
"Close/Far" card away. The first student in line of the team that went second
gets to pick up the next card as the scorekeeper starts the next 60-second
Continue on for as long as you'd
like. The team with the most points is declared the winner and should get a
privilege, such as getting to choose what to do next, or getting first dibs at