July 10, 2014

ZAP! It's Throwback Thursday

Welcome to another edition of Throwback Thursday where we teacher bloggers share our PURR-fect Previous Posts, Pics, and Pins.

How does Throwback Thursday work, you might ask? Simply look through your PURR-fect Previous Posts, perhaps a particular favorite of yours, and re-post it! Then add the TBT badge to your post and include your link below! Purr-fectly easy and simple! Your post doesn't have to be from LOOOONNNGGG ago; it can be from last month. And if you don't have a post to share, perhaps an old photo or two from WAYBACK will do! Even a favorite pin is PURR-fect! Just join in the Throwback fun!

Originally appearing on Saturday, November 16, 2013, here's a PURR-fect Previous Post for a fun and engaging classroom game.

More than twenty years ago I took a summer professional development course at Youngstown State University. Called "Using Learning Centers and Games with Middle School Students", this class was probably THE BEST one I have ever taken, including undergraduate, graduate, and beyond level classes. For three weeks, three days a week, eight hours a day we did nothing but MAKE learning centers and games based on what we taught in our curriculum. We were even given the supplies: coloring utensils, scissors, glue, paper of every variety, envelopes, canisters, etc. to make our "stuff". I was in heaven! 

It was during this class that I learned about a game called Kaboom! I wasn't crazy about the graphics or name (a bomb, explosion) so I changed it to ZAP! and used a lightning bolt. This game was nothing more than some cards in a decorated Pringles can. I think the first one that I made might have been about complete sentences and sentence fragments. My fifth and sixth graders LOVED it and begged to play it ALL the time. I made several other ZAP! games for various skill practice and we used them frequently.

To Play Zap!...

1. Divide your class into several teams depending on the number of students.
2. Determine how long you will play or how many rounds you will complete. 
3. Have a student draw a strip from the container without looking inside. I hold the container above the player’s head.
4. The team should read the words on the strip, then confer to determine the answer.
5. If the team answers correctly, it keeps the strip. If it answers incorrectly the strip is returned to the container.
6. Teams take turns drawing/collecting the strips. However, there is a twist. If a team draws a ZAP! card, it must return ALL of its strips to the container.

About ten years ago I moved buildings and in the process purged a LARGE amount of stuff I had in my classroom. I just did NOT want to move it. Among those things purged were my ZAP! games. That first year in the new building was so hectic as I also assumed the position of music director at my church. ZAP! was forgotten in the hustle and bustle.

For whatever reason, this year I remembered ZAP! and whipped up a Fall version to help my fifth and sixth graders practice identifying independent and dependent clauses. It was a hit! 

And now I'm trying to keep up with new versions, introducing new skills each week while helping my students maintain old skills. I've quite the collection already in my TpT Store and have MANY more planned.

If you've never played ZAP! with your class, you might like to give it a try. Here's a FREEBIE version that you can download and use with your upper elementary students. Designed to give them practice with main idea and vocabulary development, What's Wrong ZAP! is sure to spark motivation for learning with your kiddos. Click HERE  or on the graphics below to download your copy.

I'd love to hear how your students react to this fun and engaging motivator. If you ZAP! your class, please return and leave a comment!

There are now over 50 ZAP! games in my TpT Store, the majority being ELA activities for intermediate/middle grades,  with the newest being Back-to-School themed. Stop by and check them out, especially if you've never tried ZAP! before. Your kiddos are guaranteed to love being ZAPped!


  1. I can attest that students LOVE this game!! I played one of your synonym versions with a group of third graders and a group of fourth graders, and they loved it and begged to play it multiple times! I love how you have versions for many holidays, too!

  2. Hey Angela! I love your ZAP games. My students did too. I hope you are doing well!

    Tales of a Carolina Girl

  3. ZAP sounds so fun! Thanks for (re)sharing, and hosting.

  4. I'll have to check out your store - sounds like a fun game!
    Growing Little Learners


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