Games in the classroom may be used for so much more than independent practice! Here 6 ways to use games with your primary students, that will help them ‘flourish’ in their learning – using games!
Research shows ‘worksheets don’t grow dendrites’!
If students are engaged and having fun with meaningful content – they.will.learn! Games are engaging and fun! Kids do learn as they play!
#1 Teach Concepts
I used to think that I could only use a game if I had previously taught the concept. Not true – so I learned ‘by accident’ 😉
I was in a pinch one day because our week had been shortened with a Monday holiday – So I thought I would just use the phonics game to teach the spelling patterns we were covering that week. The kids were so motivated to learn the patterns- so they could play the game! Ta-da moment for the teacher! Games could be used to teach concepts..
Sometimes I would use my document camera and sometimes we would meet on the rug to learn ‘how to play the game’ – which included learning the concepts covered in the game. I used the game below to introduce and teach the spelling patterns ‘ew’ and ‘ui’. We read and sorted all the words as a group, and then I released them to play (independent practice) with a partner.
#2 Guided Practice
The same games can be used for guided practice portion of your lesson. Just partner or group the students to play as you walk around and monitor their understanding of the concepts.
#3 Independent Practice
Once the academic concepts have been taught and practiced, the students can gradually be released to use the games as the independent practice component of your lessons.
I try to add two components to the games at this point, an answer key and mini anchors poster of the concepts being taught – so students can refer to them as they play. The answer key and the anchor posters help the students to self-check their use of the new concepts.
Centers provide wonderful opportunities to use the games to review and reinforce concepts that have been previously taught.