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Handbook Jeopardy

Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.

Brief Description/Purpose

Going over rules and procedures is one of the dullest parts of back-to-school staff meetings. Liven up this dull routine with Handbook Jeopardy.

Materials Needed

  • A Jeopardy game board with questions relating to your school's procedures handbook

Time Required


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This activity will take 1 hour during one of your before-school-starts staff meetings. It might take a little longer than going over the rules and procedures in the deadly-dull, read-it-to-them way, but teachers will have some fun and the game will build spirit.

"Instant Meeting" Idea

One of the more tedious tasks at the start of the school year is the time spent "reviewing the rules of the road" and "reaffirming the nuts and bolts" related to a host of issues from attendance to safety, principal Pat Green told Education World. "Giving out the handbook and highlighting a few things gets really boring," said Green, who is principal at Cedar Heights Junior High School in Port Orchard, Washington. "So last year I tried building the competitive spirit among my teachers by playing 'Handbook Jeopardy'."

Green's game actually combined elements of several popular game shows. She created teams of three or four teachers to be "on stage." She appointed other groups to serve as panels of experts and judges, and another group to serve as "lifelines." Prior to playing the game, Green prepared questions to highlight important handbook information in categories such as Paperwork, Teaching Techniques, and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). Sample "Handbook Jeopardy" questions included the following:

Paperwork

  • Why is accurate attendance important?
  • You want to take a field trip with your class. What do you need to do prior to the trip?

Standard Operating Procedures

  • If you want to show a film to your students that is rated PG-13 or R, what must you do beforehand?
  • If you suspect that a report to Children's Services is needed, what do you do?

Players select a category and a dollar amount; the higher dollar values are assigned to more difficult -- or more important -- questions. Teams are allowed to discuss a question before giving the judges their best response. If the judges determine that a response is incorrect, the opposing team gets a chance to buzz in and answer. Clarification of each correct response is briefly given and then the next team gets to select a category and dollar amount.

"Handbook Jeopardy might take a little more time than a simple page-by-page review of the handbook," said Green, "but the game format enables us to review the most important information in a fun and friendly way. In addition, the energy of the game helps build a sense of team."

"And, obviously, prizes -- such as bags of Jolly Ranchers that teachers can use as student rewards -- go to the winners."

Follow-Up

In some schools, teachers must sign a form that says they have read and understand the procedures detailed in the handbook. If that is not the case in your school, you might simply close the activity above by sharing a bulleted slide of the rules and procedures that you want to emphasize as the most important ones.

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