Saturday, December 16, 2017

Marker Partner PLUS (a fun variation of Marker Partner)

In May of 2014, I wrote a blog post explaining The Marker Partner game. It is a fun way for the teacher to check student comprehension after listening to a story or after reading a text and to provide additional input through listening. Earlier this fall, I created a variation of the game that goes one level deeper into checking student comprehension and holds the students more accountable in earning points for their team. I'll refer to it as the Marker Partner PLUS game.

The set-up for the game is identical as for the Marker Partner game. Divide the students into two teams. If you have desks, the students move their desks so they are facing each other with a marker placed where the two desks meet. The students can place the paired desks in a circle formation or in a long row, if your room allows for this. If you do NOT have desks, you can do the activity in the cafeteria and the students sit at the long tables across from their opponents.

Marker Partner PLUS in a classroom w/o desks

Another option, one that I use when I have class during lunch periods and the cafeteria is not available, is to have the students place their chairs in two long rows so they are facing their partners, with an extra chair between them and the marker placed on the chair as shown in the photo on the right.

The students listen as the teacher reads a script of the story they have recently heard or a script of a story that they have read. (Or you can use this with any text, not limited to a story.) The students are actively listening for a changed detail as the teacher reads. When they hear an inaccurate detail, they grab the marker before their partner does. The students on each team hold their marker up and the teacher counts which side has more markers. The team with the most markers earns 1 point. 

Now for the twist. The teacher then chooses ANY student from the winning side that is holding up a marker and that student needs to say WHAT the error was and then must CORRECT the error by restating the sentence, or part of the sentence, with the correct information. The student cannot receive any help from his teammates. If the student can correctly identify the error and make the correction, he earns another point for his team, for a total of 2 points for that round.

However, if the student that the teacher choose to identify the error and correct it is unable to do so, the opposing team can earn 2 points if the student that the teacher calls on from the side that didn't earn 1 point is successful in stating the error and correcting it.

When I call on a student from the team that has the most markers, I always call on a student that is holding a marker. My reasoning is, if the student grabbed the marker, then she knows there was false information. When I call on a student on the opposing team when the first team member was unable to make the correction, I call on anyone on that team, whether they were first to grab the marker or they didn't beat their opponent.

I like this version BETTER! Why? Because the teacher is able to read more than one sentence at a time. I have played this version and read 4 or 5 sentences before I insert an incorrect detail. The students are intently listening for a longer period of time in anticipation for the incorrect detail. The next time I may chose to read only one sentence until I mention an incorrect detail. This keeps the students on their toes because they don't know how long they will need to listen before they grab the marker.

If you and your students like playing Marker Partner, then I predict you will also like Marker Partner PLUS


  1. Competition always adds to the fun. I have done something similar with classes built around the structure "tener razón." When I read back to them a part of the story with an error they were to raise their hand as and call out, "usted no tiene razón." The student would also have to correct the error by restating the sentence with the correction.

    1. Oh yes. I have done that also, either with students reading along with the text or without the text and they called out “NO”. I like your idea to say “no tiene razón”.