jump to navigation

Let the “Screwball Games” Begin! June 13, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The entire school year I’ve tested my students ad nauseam, so what do we do on that last day of school?  We test!  But this test, aka “The Screwball Games,” gives kids the opportunity to show off those all important skills and talents that standardized testing overlooks.   Skills such as the vastly under rated ability to cross your eyes, which sadly I am unable to do.  So each June I’m humbled by these children who only come up to my armpits, yet can cross their eyes, do the splits AND wiggle their ears.    

Students work in small groups and are so eager to participate in this freak show, they actually work cooperatively!  But as the teacher, you must set clear standards for each skill so it can be accurately assessed.  For example, staring intently at your nose is NOT crossing your eyes.  

The “Screwball Games” also provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate overlooked talents, so truly NO child is left behind.  One year four boys came to the front of the class and belched an entire song. That’s got to meet some Listening and Speaking Standard!  Because it’s the last day of school, don’t waste your time on such mundane skills as cartwheels, armpit farts, or being able to do the crab walk.  Encourage kids to go for the gold!  You’d be amazed how many kids can flip their eyelids inside out, or pop entire portions of their bodies out of joint.  Talk about multiple intelligences! 

Want to play?  Here’s how it works.  Students receive the following form:

The Screwball* Games

*screwball- Definition: odd and eccentric

Group Members: 






Who can:

Wiggle their ears?

Do the splits? (in ANY direction)

Sit on the floor with the bottoms of their feet touching while their knees are on the floor?  (you can’t use your hands to push your knees to the floor)

Raise one eyebrow?

Cross their eyes?

Roll their tongue?  aka “Taco Tongue”

Snap their fingers?


Put one foot behind their head?  Two feet?

Separate their fingers two by two?  (Also referred to as the Vulcan greeting!)

Stand on one foot for one minute

Please list any other overlooked talents:


Give students about 20 minutes to meet with their groups so they can each demonstrate their special abilities to the other group members.  Have one person write down the names of those who can. Then have students return to their seats and name a category.  All of the ones who can do it come up front and demonstrate at the same time.  The effect is fantastic!  When all of the them are hopping on one leg while you man the timer, it’s like watching a deranged performance of “River Dance.”  One year I had three students who managed to get their foot behind their head, but failed miserably at getting it out from behind their it.  This required a calm demeanor to extricate them from this rather embarrassing predicament.  Note:  Tell the girls ahead of time to wear pants.

The “Screwball Games’ provides a good hour’s worth of hilarity,  and more importantly, the chance for you to sit back and be entertained.  So let the games begin!





1. Catherine Sherman - June 16, 2008

Very Funny! Advanced screwball games: I do the klingon greeting with one hand, snap my fingers with the other as I stand on one foot for more than a minute. Then I collapse into the cobbler’s pose with my legs totally flat on the floor. I can’t wiggle my ears, whistle or roll my tongue — family traits that I didn’t inherit and so I always felt sadly deficient, but now I know I can redeem myself.


2. Jessica Pasternak - July 1, 2008

I so love this that I’m going to introduce a first grade version next year! But as a died-in-the-wool Star Trekkie, I must inform you that it is the VULCAN greeting, not Klingon. A Klingon would rather be caught dead than chant “Live long and prosper” and separate their fingers into two-by-two. Klingons are the ones who think that “today is a good day to die” — a sentiment I’d like to introduce to a number of my students.

I won’t quibble with ANYONE who claims to be a “died-in-the-wool Star Trekkie” or should I say “tribble?” I shall make the correction and run all future Star Trek references by you to assure 100 percent accuracy. Jan


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: