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Play It – Say It!


Students infer which response best matches a prompt and justify their thinking.


  • Index cards
  • Prompts, statements, or descriptions that correlate with the various response cards


  1. Organize students into thinking partners.
  2. Have students create response cards and hold them in their hand like playing cards.

    • 5-7 important terms, concepts, historical figures, characters, formulas
    • Steps in a process (one step on each card)
    • Different genres, literary devices, or reading comprehension skills
  3. Present a statement and allow students a few seconds to match the statement with one of their cards.
  4. Say, “1-2-3, Play It!”
  5. Students slap down the response card they think matches the prompt.
  6. Say, “Say It!”
  7. Students shout out their answers, all at the same time.
  8. Students justify to their thinking partner why they slapped down that card by completing this response stem: “I may not be correct, but I think the answer is ______ because ______.” Allow students to change their minds after talking.
  9. Observe students’ thinking and verify/clarify as appropriate.
  10. Students turn to their partner and finish this stem verbally or in writing: “The correct response was ______ because ______.”

Classroom Management

  • Role-play ways to appropriately slap down cards and say responses at the same time.
  • Add an element of humor by asking students to Say It in different voices: Say it like a cowboy, say it like a football coach, whisper say it, etc.
  • Remind students there will be no harm or humiliation for incorrect answers because correcting mistakes is a sign of intelligence!


  • Provide access by previewing response cards with a supportive adult or peer.
  • Provide access by allowing student/teacher notes, journal entries, or visual supports, and/or encouraging text-to-speech supports.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Sequence the response cards in order from the ideas you know best to those you know least. Get a friend to coach you on the one you know least.
    • Generalize what all the cards have in common.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.