Monday, August 15, 2011

New Ideas for Basketball Review Games in the Classroom

Recently, a reader emailed me to ask about one of the first lesson ideas I ever shared on the blog:
I am hoping you won’t mind sharing some info with me.  I love the basketball hoop in your blog picture.  I’m going with a “slam dunk seventh” theme this year and would love to get one for my classroom.  I’ve seen a lot of little tykes and fisher price versions on craig’s list, but those look weak for seventh graders.  Who makes yours?


The hoop in question, which is the basis for Idea #9 from my book Ten Cheap Lessons, is this Monster Basketball Set.

Unfortunately, it seems to no longer be available for $20 as it was back in 2007.  I think that's alright, however, because what I learned after trying to reuse it a couple of times is that it tends to spring leaks that are nearly impossible to find and patch.  The best part about it was that it is huge, colorful and bouncy, which strangely enough why it works with older students (even high schoolers).  It is way over the top visually, and kids immediately think it will be easy to shoot baskets (it's not).  I haven't found a suitable replacement yet, but I also hadn't been actively looking for one.

Now that I'm returning to the classroom full-time after a couple years away, I want to find something similar but better.  $100 for something that can only be used once or twice is not worth it, no matter how ideal it looks in the photo.

After some online searching, I like this humungous Super Hoop, but it's too big for inside the classroom--we'd have to take class outside, which is okay.  It is also a bit pricey (just under $200), but if it can hold up for multiple uses, it might be worth it.  A cheaper alternative would be to get this inflatable hoop designed for swimming pools and put it on top of a desk or table, but it's not quite the same.

As I've reflected on this idea over the past few weeks, I wonder if I should adapt technology for the same purpose: why not use a Wii or Kinect-based basketball game, projected on the big screen?  There's a 3-point shooting contest inside Wii Sports Resort, along with bowling, archery, watersports and more.  That one game could provide just enough variety to allow you to revisit the same basic team-based review again and again (see the original Basketball Review Game post for a primer) without losing the novelty.

Have you seen any basketball hoops or other types of games that you could use for review inside the classroom (the cheaper and easier to set up the better)?  Know of any Wii or Kinect titles that would serve the same purpose using engaging technology?  Share your resources, ideas and questions in the comments.