Game On! Using Games in the Classroom
With all of the demands that come with testing, accountability, and differentiating in our current education world, teachers need a lot of support and strategies for assessment – formative and summative!
What happens when you announce, “Game Day!” to your class? My fifth graders loved hearing those words come out of my mouth during math class. That didn’t mean we would have a free-for-all class period of course, yet I had a room full of excited, engaged students. Marzano has found that instructional games are associated with gains in student achievement and lists ways to get the most out of games in the classroom (ASCD). My own experience showed me that games could be used as a formative assessment tool because I had the entire class period to observe students and work with students who showed signs of struggle with basic math skills. If the game involved decimal multiplication, I could look for students who were weaker in multiplication fluency and tailor future homework assignments to their needs.
Simple, partner or small group games are easily differentiated based on difficulty. I love the Connect Four style games because they are easy to store, require few materials, and they can be leveled based on degree of difficulty. These work great for all four operations (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) and can be used for whole numbers, decimals, fractions, percents, and even a mix of these representations! Check out this decimal freebie! I also love Memory-style games for younger students, as I created here to help students practice counting coins. Other whole-class games such as Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire are perfect for encouraging strong group interactions within your classroom as well. It’s easy to find ready-made Powerpoint templates for these games – just plug in your questions and go!
Have you found success with educational games in your classroom? Tell me about your go-to games!