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Teaching with Games

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"Children learn best when the content is relevant to them and when they can connect new learning with old," says Marcia Baldanza, principal of Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia. Finding the Velcro to make those connections can be challenging, but with games, it's easy." Baldanza, who feels that playing games has strengthened teacher-student and student-student relationships at her school, notes that students like games because they have fun and learn at the same time, and teachers like them because games help build students academic confidence, as well as social and problem-solving skills.

Learn More About Using Games in the Classroom

Education World has published a number of articles and lessons on using games to teach and motivate. They include:

Integrating Games Into the Curriculum
At Patrick Henry Elementary School, games are used both informally, and formally -- in Kid's Club, an after-school enrichment program, and in Wanna Play a Game?, a class in which students learn games that connect to the curriculum.

Pre-K-2 Students Play and Learn Online
Whether youre looking for a learning center activity -- or just a fun activity for yet another indoor recess -- these Web sites fill the bill. Included: Ten safe and engaging pre-K-2 game sites that don't drown them in ads.

Learning Games for Students in Grades 3-5
These Web sites represent some of the best online sources for interactive learning games for students in e elementary grades. Keep them in mind when you're looking for a way to engage students' interest while increasing their knowledge or enhancing their skills.

Chess Clubs Give Kids New Skills -- and New Hope
Volunteers are teaching members of the Young Masters Chess Club in Reno, Nevada, how to play the game of chess -- and much more! Chess, a game that improves concentration and critical thinking skills, also can build self-esteem -- and change kids' lives.

Rock or Feather: A Critical Thinking Activity
A simple activity can reveal much about the students you work with each day. Students make and defend their choices in this activity, called Rock or Feather? Included: Comments from teachers who've used the activity -- and a printable activity sheet.

Additional Resource

You also might want to read the following article.

Game on!: Game-based learning, by Patricia Deubel.
In this article, Dr. Deubel,discusses how educators can use their students' love of video games as a valuable and multifacted learning tool. Deubel, an education consultant and adjunct faculty member in the graduate School of Education at Capella University in Minneapolis, is the developer of Computing Technology for Math Excellence.

Lesson Plan Games

Check out these Education World lesson plans for games you can use to help students review facts and practice skills.

Concentration Review Game
Discover ten ideas for adapting the Concentration game to review hundreds of skills across the curriculum.

FACT-O
Students in grades 4 and above practice math facts as they play a game of chance and skill. Game sheet included.

Online Math Facts Games
More than a dozen great online games for friendly classroom competition and take-home practice. A handful of "just-for-fun" games are included.

Human Body Board Game
Students research a system of the body, write questions and answers on game cards in Word, and then play the using a game board template from Word.

Family Feud
Adapt the "Family Feud" TV game to review any subject or reinforce any skill. Included: Suggestions for adapting the game to grammar, spelling, math, social studies, more.

Just for Fun

Dont forget to play games just for fun!

Ten Games for Classroom Fun
Do you need ideas for occupying students during the last ten minutes of a busy day? Or perhaps you want to reward them at the end of a particularly productive day. Included: Ten games for end-of-the-day fun.

Online Games Students Will Love
For those times when another indoor recess threatens to fray your nerves and test your students' good intentions! Take your mind off your troubles and join your students in some online fun.

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