Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tip #2: Play Games During Class

Your students may sometimes play games with you, but why not play games with them? I have found that playing games in the classroom is one of the best ways to engage even harder to reach students. Sometimes they may even admit that they enjoyed the day's lesson. You can offer an extra incentive for those that win but most of the times if students ask what they get if they win, I jokingly say "A sense of accomplishment." They may give you a strange look after hearing your answer, but by the end of class that is usually enough for them.

Different games work well for different occasions. Here are some games I play regularly with my students:

Tic-Tac-Toe: When I have 5-10 minutes left of class after a lesson, review tic-tac-toe always works well. I divide the class into two groups and ask questions about that day's lesson, marking X's or O's on the board if the team answers the questions correctly.
Bingo - Bingo games are good for reviewing terms or key words before a test or at the end of the unit. An example that works great is my Advanced Color Bingo. This has really helped my students identify color schemes and how to mix colors.
Jeopardy®-  Probably every teacher has played some form of this game with their class. It's perfect for reviewing material. For low tech classrooms whiteboards work perfect for this or if you have more technology available, you can create a PowerPoint template like my Black History Jeopardy.
Basketball Review - This game works well for classes that love sports. I use the trashcan as the basket and a crumpled up piece or two of paper as the ball and divide the class into teams. I give two points for a correct answer and students can turn the two points into a three pointer by shooting the ball into the basket.
Memory - Memory games are perfect for matching two items that go together such as math problem and answers, dates and events, people and descriptions. I usually tape note cards to my board with the clues and have students go up and flip two at a time. For a smaller group or center, print out cards and have small groups play together.
Design Your Own - Get creative and make up your own unique game. This will prevent students from referring back to unusual rules or how they played in the past with other teachers or classrooms. Here is a unique, free Zoo Animal Math Game. Download other free game templates here which suggest Biblical games but these templates would work well for any subject matter.

I would love to hear from others. What games do you enjoy playing in your classroom?

- Lesson Lady

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