Teachers' Corner: Teacher involves students in vocabulary ‘Survivor Series'
Ryan Williams is a teacher at Cravens Elementary in Owensboro, Ky., who relates how he has used WWE and Survivor Series to motivate his students to make reading a regular habit:
This is my 11th year teaching first grade and the past eight years I have incorporated some facet of WWE into how I teach reading. Eight years ago, I noticed my first grade boys were not that interested in reading. I did know they were interested in watching WWE because we would all come in Tuesday morning a little tired because of watching Monday Night Raw. That is when I knew I could get them hooked on reading if I tied it to wrestling.
I obtained two of those inexpensive replica championship belts. I took out the center pieces and replaced them with laminated construction paper that read "The Williams Reading Federation Tag Team Champions." I then created a game to go along with our reading series. The game consists of teams of two who battle to see who can earn five reading points. The reading points have to deal with what we are working on at the time. Foot Locker donated a referee shirt and I became the "Reading Referee." I showed my principal the game and how much not only the boys were learning and having fun, but also the girls. The next thing I knew, he made a ring for my classroom. We use the ring on special occasions (my version of WWE pay-per-views) and record the students "battling" in the ring for the reading belts. The cool thing is that our school system shows the matches on our school cable channel.
Another motivator I use is giving away WWE Get R.E.A.L. posters to students who complete a word list which consists of more than 1,000 words and 600 word phrases. Yes, I did say 1,000 words and 600 word phrases. And guess who tries to get the posters first? That is right! Those boys who wanted nothing to do with reading.
The Survivor Series pay-per-view is another inspiration for reading activities. For our version of Survivor Series, I divide the class into two rows of teams. I hold up a flash card that has one of the 1,000 words from the word lists. The first person to say the word moves on to the next round; the best "trier" (there are no losers) becomes part of the audience. This usually lasts for about five rounds depending on how many students are playing. The last one standing gets to wear a Survivor Series dog tag. This year, I got a replica WWE Championship and customized it with "Williams Reading Champ." The winner will get to choose from either the Championship or the dog tag and second place gets the item that's left. It's great fun and has improved the students' vocabulary and reading comprehension.
Do you have a teaching success story to share with fellow teachers? Please tell us how you use WWE in the classroom by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.