Games have been a part of the classroom since long before computers. Teachers have used word and drawing games to engage their students and help them learn. In recent years, the use of gamification in the classroom has become more popular as technology has evolved and given us new ways to make learning fun and engaging for students. However, something must be said for a good ‘ole board game. Let’s look at how games can improve student learning.
If you think you don’t have the time for games or can’t see how games improve learning, stay with me as I explain the benefits. While you can keep reading for more information, watch here as I show you exactly how each game works!
Why Games in the Classroom?
There are several reasons to use games in the classroom, including the following:
- Engage students: Games can make learning more interactive and enjoyable, which keeps them focused and engaged in the material.
- Games can help students retain information and deepen their understanding of the material.
- Many games require students to think critically, analyze information, and solve problems, which can help to develop these skills.
- Encouraging teamwork and collaboration is an important part of playing games.
- Meet different students’ needs, making them valuable tools for differentiated instruction.
- Games can provide students with a safe and supportive environment to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from their experiences, which can help to build confidence and self-esteem.
- Help to foster a love of learning and a sense of community among students.
Games and Structured Literacy
Now that I’ve shown you the benefits, I hope you can see that you can’t afford NOT trying to implement games in the classroom. However, I wanted to share how these games could follow a structured literacy approach to teaching and learning.
Remember, structured literacy is systematic, sequential, explicit, and diagnostic. Therefore, you want to ensure you model for students HOW to play the game before letting them play independently.
Choose a few simple games for students to learn how to play. Play games that teach multiple skills in the same way. As a result, students can work independently a lot faster.
Also, be sure students record the work they do. This recording is the diagnostic piece. Whether students work independently or in small groups, providing a recording sheet lets you see students’ work.
Full disclosure: Below is a few Amazon links that are affiliate links which means if you purchase through that link, I receive a very small percentage of the sale.
Try These Fun Games to Improve Learning
This is a fun game for primary-grade students. It’s a great way for learning their ABC’s or to help them spell words.
Line up the cards and have students shoot the letter needed to spell a word or call out a letter for students to match. I could see using it to make other games with sight words, vocabulary, and sounds.
There are so many ways to use the Pop-It Games. Have students practice sounds, the alphabet, sight words, vocabulary, and more.
Put students in groups of 2-4 (depending on your game board), choose a card, practice, roll the die, and pop that many spaces.
Digital Escape Rooms
Digital escape rooms are a fun and interactive way for students to engage with educational content. Here are reasons you should be using them and some benefits of using digital escape rooms in the classroom. I create a lot of escape rooms for students and find them always to be a hit.
You can find my escape rooms here.
Headbandz is a fun and simple game for kids that promotes critical thinking, social skills, and creativity. Here’s how to play:
- Players take turns wearing a headband with a picture or word without seeing the image themselves.
- The other players give clues to help the player wearing the headband guess what is on their head.
- Once the player successfully guesses the image, they remove the headband, and the play continues with the next player.
My kids love this game. This can be used in various ways, but the basic premise is that students practice the skill they are working on and then shoot a basket.
For example, in my March Sight Word Game pack, students pick a card, say the sight word, write the sight word, and shoot the basket. If a student plays with a partner, the winner is the one who makes the most baskets. I share how I use this game in my YouTube video above.
Using gamified elements in your classroom can effectively boost student engagement and enthusiasm for learning. Making learning fun and interactive through games can help keep your students focused on their studies while providing valuable life skills such as teamwork and collaboration. So if you’re looking for a way to get your class excited about learning and want to follow a structured literacy approach, consider introducing some game-based elements into your lessons!