Trashketball Madness

When teachers capitalize on a popular trend or activity, it makes learning energizing and fun. Although trashketball can be used all school year, the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament makes it more relevant than ever.

Several years ago, one of my students introduced me to trashketball for grammar review. Ever since, my trashketball games have evolved into a motivating learning tool. Furthermore, brain research supports the connection between movement and learning, which improves academic success.

In fact, here is feedback from a teacher who has used the games in her classroom.

Want to know how to play trashketball? Here are some tips to help you use it into your classroom also:

Before playing, I place three strips of brightly colored painter’s tape on my classroom floor at increasingly farther distances. 

The students stand behind each of these lines when it’s time for them to shoot baskets into my trash can. If students make the shot from the line closest to the trash can, they earn one point. From behind the middle line they earn three points, and from the farthest line, they earn five points.

I put my trash can in front of my cabinets so it doesn’t topple over. Trashkeball has been so popular that when I found this trashcan at Modell’s Sporting Goods for $25, I immediately purchased it.

Although trashketball is traditionally played with crumpled paper, I use balls that I’ve acquired over the years.  

At the beginning of the game, I arrange students into groups where they are sitting in my classroom. Because I’ve already carefully arranged my seating chart to reflect student abilities and personalities, these groups are heterogeneous.

Next I project the Power Point Slides and we review the rules. These rules include requiring one student to be the captain of each team. Students also choose someone with legible handwriting to record their answers. They are instructed that the captain will bring the answers for the team to me after each round. 

Even though I know the answers, I print a copy of the answer key ahead of time to make reviewing their answers a quicker process. If their answers are incorrect, I send the captain back to the group, and the students continue to work on the problems until they are ready to try again. This process continues until I have a first, second, and third place winner for each round. Sometimes I increase individual accountability and require each student to write his own answers.

After each round, I required one of the groups to share the correct answers orally before they shoot their baskets.  Each group decides if one student will shoot the baskets or if they

will take turns. I also encourage them to decide on a strategy for which lines they want to shoot from. 

It’s important to note that I use trashketball to supplement my instruction. When I teach grammar, I introduce the concept in a lecture and then provide guided practice. Then my students complete independent practice. Trashketball is used as formative assessment after these activities to review for quizzes.

At times, students can get boisterous because they are so excited to play trashketball. With certain classes, it’s important for me to set some ground rules for the volume of the voices, paying attention to directions, and remaining seated until it’s time for them to shoot the baskets.  If they can’t follow the rules, they aren't allowed to play the game.

I know that teachers occasionally will want to change the questions in these games to meet their students’ abilities and needs. For that reason, teachers may edit the questions in these games.  You can find numerous games for grammar instruction, poetry terms, rhetorical appeals, and literature review in my TpT store.

Have you played trashektball in your classroom? How have you varied it? I’d love to hear about your games or see photos of your students in action. Please share in the comments below.

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