The Kiss Grammar Game
by Dr. Ed Vavra

The Longer, Formal Version
The "Official" Rules

Preparing a Formal Version of a Tech Prep Edition
Scoring Systems
Timing Suggestions


     The best way I can think of to distinguish the longer, formal version of the game from the quick classroom version is that the first is like an interscholastic football game, whereas the latter is like a team scrimmage.The formal version is best used for competitions between different classes, between different schools, etc.

Preparing a Formal Version of a Tech Prep Edition

     Follow the instructions for downloading the "Question Sheets," the "Point-Values" sheets and whichever answer keys you want to use. Print the number of "Question Sheets" for each round that you will need (based on the number of teams that will be competing.) On the back of each sheet, print the Edition name, the round number, and the amount of time allowed for that round..

    Suggestion: I do this in PageMaker. Page 1 of my document is the Question Sheet for the first round. Page Two is the back of that sheet, i.e., it has the edition name and the round number. Once this document is set up, I print all the odd pages, then reinsert the pages (reverse side up), and print the even pages. This gives me one set of question sheets.
Put each question sheet into a clear, smooth sheet protector. (Before you get a lot of them, test the sheet protectors to be sure that you can write on them with a washable ink marker and that the ink will easily and completely wash off.)

     Print the number of "Point Values" sheets that you will need -- one for each team in the competition. It is probably a good idea to put these in sheet protectors.

     Print at least one set of answer keys. (If you have a color printer, in the long run you might find it less expensive less cumbersome to print these as overhead transparencies. Put the a transparency and a blank sheet of paper into a sheet protector, and it is just as if you had printed on paper. Pull out the white sheet, and you will have an overhead ready to be used.)

     The easiest way to keep track of all of this stuff is probably in a large 3-ring notebook. Put the "Point Values" sheets first, then all the question sheets for Round 1, followed by the Answer Key to Round 1. Then Round 2, etc. As a game is played, keep the notebook open. What you need will be on the right side. As you finish with materials, you can easily slip them in order into the left side. At the end of the game, put the "Point Values" sheets back in front, and close the notebook. A bunch of damp paper towels can be used to clean the question sheets (for the next game) while they are still in the notebook.


      For a formal game, there should be at least two, preferably three officials -- a Moderator, a Timer, and at least one Scorer. (If necessary, the Timer's job can be handled by the Moderator.) The Moderator's job is to keep the game moving. Question sheets for round one can be put (sentence side down) in the competition area before the game starts. Each team's competitive work area should also have a copy of the "Point Values" sheet. Each team sends a member into the competition area. Competitors should write their name and their team's name on the question sheet that is facing them before the round begins. [Without this, problems will arise as to which sheet belongs to whom.]  The Moderator states the amount of time alloted for that round. When the Moderator states "Begin," the competitors turn over their sheets and use washable ink markers to analyze the sentence. When the Timer states "Stop," the competitors put down their pens and the Timer takes the sheets to the scoring table. As theTimer is doing so, the Moderator distributes the question sheets for the next round. As soon as the next round of competitors are in place, that round begins.
     Meanwhile, at the scoring table, the Scorer evaluates each competitor's sheet, awarding points according to the previously agreed upon scoring system. When all the sheets from competitors in a round have been scored, the scores are given to the Moderator who, at the end of the round currently being played, announces them and adds them to teams' totals. [Optional note: While a round is being scored, the answer key for that round can be shown on a overhead.]

Scoring Systems

     Before a competition begins, the teams must agree on a scoring system -- amateur or expert. In amateur competitions, incorrect marks on the sheets are ignored. In expert competitions, incorrect marks result in the loss of whatever number of points the mark would have been worth.

Timing Suggestions

     The amount of time that competitors should be given for a round depends, of course, on the skill of the students, and on the complexity of the sentence they will be analyzing. Students who are just beginning to deal with subordinate clauses, for example, will need more time to find and mark them. Teachers may, therefore, want to adjust the provided Timing Suggestions. [See the suggestions for the Biology Edition and for the Nursing Edition.] Before any formal competition, the advisors of the teams should agree on the timing values to be used.
     In developing the game, I currently calculate times for each round using the following system.

    Round 1 (Prepositional Phrases): Set a minimum time of 15 seconds. If there are more than three prepositional phrases, add 5 seconds for each phrase over three.

    Round 2 (Adjectives, Adverbs, and Coordinating Conjunctions): I never use this round. If you want to, you can make up your own rules.

    Round 3 (Subject / Verb / Complement Patterns): To the total for Round 1, add ten seconds for every S/V/C pattern.

    Round 4 (Clauses): To the total for Round 3, add ten seconds for every clause (subordinate and main) beyond the first.

    Round 5 (Verbals -- Gerunds, Gerundives, Infinitives): To the total for Round 4, add fifteen seconds for every verbal.

    Round 6 (Eight Additional Constructions): To the total for Round 5, add ten seconds for each of these constructions.

I subjectively modify these guidelines, usually by adding five or ten seconds, based on the constructions within a particular sentence.

     The suggested timing values are, in my experience, liberal enough to allow even poorly prepared students a chance to gain points for their team. And, if an overhead of the question sheet is provided for the people who are not actively participating in the round, the times are short enough so that these people do not become bored. Obviously, if students are usually finished before time is up, teachers should decrease the amount of time allowed for each round. (Blank "Make-Your-Own" Timing Sheets are available for each edition.)