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Alycia

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Christy

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Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach kindergarten

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Alycia

I live in New York

I teach 3rd grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe

Rhonda

I live in New Jersey

I teach 6th grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers

Beth

I live in Michigan

I teach 3rd grade

I am an enthusiastic teacher and techie, and a mom of three boys

Erin

I live in Michigan

I teach 2nd grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!

John

I live in New York

I teach writing for grades 5-8

I am a sharpener of minds who keeps students' thinking on point

Genia

I live in Michigan

I teach third grade

I am seriously addicted to all things technology in my teaching

Kriscia

I live in California

I teach 2nd and 3rd grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all

Brian

I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously

Lindsey

I live in Illinois

I teach 4th grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

Shari

I live in Idaho

I teach kindergarten

I am a wife, mom, and home chef who loves cooking up ways to make learning fun in school

Christy

I live in New York

I teach K-5 technology

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist

Amanda

I live in Illinois

I teach 1st and 2nd grades

I am a jewelry-making, pet-loving, runner, crafter, and bilingual teacher

Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach kindergarten

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child

Gaming Unplugged — Board Games, Math Corners, and Learning

By Stacey Burt on January 13, 2012
  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Let’s face it: it’s hard to compete with modern technology. It is everywhere. From iPods and iPads to laptops and smartphones, today’s students carry more technology in their backpacks than it took to put men on the moon. Honestly, I adore all that technology. It has added to my professional and personal life. So when I tell my students that we’ll be playing board games in math class, murmurs of “What?!” are often heard.

In my classroom, I try to have games and puzzles on hand for students to play. At the beginning of the year, I introduce students to several of the more popular games and sets of materials that I enjoy using in class. Inevitably there are a few students that roll their eyes at the lack of technology integration. What the students have forgotten is that sitting down with two or three other people to play an engaging game is actually fun.

But as games expert David Niecikowski reminds us, board games are not just fun: they also help students develop problem-solving skills, build community, and sharpen their intellect. My students count on me to join the groups and play with them. My involvement in the games also allows me to assess students’ level of mastery, spend time with them in an unstructured way, deconstruct misconceptions, and assist them in strategies that may prove useful in future learning.

 

Games and Materials

I like to keep it simple. Materials that are inexpensive and easily accessible are right up my alley. Here is a list of math games and materials that I keep on hand for game time in the classroom:

  1. Dice
  2. Playing cards
  3. Uno decks 
  4. Tangrams
  5. Sudoku 5X5
  6. Hit or Miss
  7. 10 Days in Africa
  8. Ka-Ching! 
  9. Monopoly
  10. 24 Game
  11. Battleship
  12. Blokus

This is the short list. Granted, I realize that state standards (soon to be "Common Core State Standards") drive instruction, but making time to connect with students through the use of games can increase learning come test time.

 

Math Corner

Many classrooms are designed with a special place for students to decompress with a good book. Just as important as having a reading corner is having a math nook. I highly recommend allocating a location in the classroom for math games and supplies. I stock everything from board games to books on origami and fractals and recommend the 25 Super Cool Math Board Games for building key skills in many areas.  My math nook is a safe place for kids to go and put their hands on math materials and manipulatives. In my classroom, it has become quite a popular destination for students who have finished assignments early.

 

Game Creation

My final suggestion is to give students the opportunity to create their own games at the conclusion of a unit or chapter of study. I pick up old board games at garage sales and ask parents to donate board games they no longer want. Students can use the box, game board, or game pieces to create an original game. I am never disappointed at the level of creativity and skill that goes into these student-created board games. The games are often donated to the class and kept for future use in the math corner. Student-created games also provide the opportunity to check for mastery of content.

All the best,

Stacey

Comments (3)

Creating board games is a great way to incorporate Bloom's Taxonomy into any unit. As part of the game creation criteria, be sure to include the requirement to use different levels of questioning this allows you to check for the degree of mastery on multiple levels.

I take the board games a step further and after reading the novel "A Lion to Guard Us" in third grade each team of 3 students creates a board game. They draw the board, create the questions, and decide on the rules.I meet with each team and help make the rules simple and easy to follow. I am always amazed at their creativity. After the final product is ready each team plays all of the other games and then we discuss the things we like about each game. They are still playing them months after the activity.

I love games (board games and card games)! and I have found that most of my kids do not (and have never) played games with their families! They are missing out. They ask daily, "Can we play a game today?" It builds social skills that are lacking today, too. My students' favorites are yahtzee and uno. I like playing the games with them as much as they do!(But I grew up playing games with my family). :-)

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