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OOPS! Word Wall Lesson


  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts


  • PreK
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

A fun game provides word recognition, vocabulary, and/or spelling practice.


Students will

  • identify words that appear on the word wall.
  • follow directions for playing the game.


word wall, spelling, vocabulary, definition, dictionary

Materials Needed


  • a file box of word cards, one card for every word on the word wall
  • cards with the word OOPS! written on them in big red letters (approximately one OOPS! card for every 15 to 20 word cards

Lesson Plan

OOPS! is a fast-moving, fun activity that can be used with groups of students or an entire class. The activity gives all students a chance to feel success because it is, ultimately, a game of chance. Even the best reader in your class might lose the game; conversely, one of your struggling readers could win the game. OOPS! is a game students will love to play in small groups during rainy-day recesses.

Before the Game
This game requires that teachers add every word-wall word to a file box of word cards. That is simple to do: Each time a word is added to the word wall, write that word on a 3- by 5-inch index card and insert it into a file box. Then, on separate cards, write the word OOPS! in big red letters. Insert the OOPS! cards randomly throughout the file box -- in a ratio of about one OOPS! card for every 15 to 20 word cards. When you have your box of word cards set, students are ready to learn to play OOPS!

The Game
The game is very simple. Gather students into a group. One at a time, have individual students come forward and pull a word card.

Alternative: Older students might pass the box of cards.

As a student pulls a card, she or he turns to the other students, shows the card, and says the word. If the student says the word correctly, he or she gets to keep the card. If the word is read incorrectly, the card is put back into the box.

You might challenge older students to spell aloud the word (without looking at it) or give a definition of the word before allowing them to keep the cards.

Continue the game in that way. Eventually, students might gather a handful of cards. A student who pulls one of the OOPS! cards, however, must give up all the word cards she or he has gathered to that point. A player who pulls an OOPS! card is back to square one!

When time is up -- an ideal game might be 10 to 15 minutes -- the student holding the most word cards is the winner.

Extension Activity
Make the box of word cards available to students during rainy-day recesses so small groups of students can play the game on their own.

Lesson Plan Source

Adapted from an idea on Marion Dunkerley's Word Wall Activities Web page; used with permission.

Submitted By

Marion Dunkerley; Marion also contributed to the Education World article, Teachers Say Word Walls Work!

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

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