Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Chapter 4....GAME ON!

I'm linking up with Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle to discuss how to enhance learning through GAMES! Come joins us for this book study as we learn about 20 instruction strategies that engage the brain. (This Saturday stop by Fabulous in First for Chapter 5: Graphic Organizers, Semantic Maps, and Word Webs.)

Kids enjoy games. We don't need any convincing on that! As far as Kindergarten goes... we teachers can turn anything - I mean ANYTHING into a game ("Let's see if you can clean up and be on the rug in 1 song?") Sound familiar?
This chapter pointed out WHY games are an effective teaching strategy. My favorite quote from this chapter stated that when you are engrossed in game playing "stress is lessened and memory for content is increased!" 

Here are a few learning games my kids ask to play! (If you want a full description of the game and how to play... just click on each picture.)

Fishy Words

This is a version of Hangman that we frequently play during snack time. My kids LOVE it!


Headbanz - Math Edition!

This game is a great way to grow critical thinking skills and reinforce math vocabulary and concepts:
"Your number is the sum of 3 + 4."
"It's 2 more than 5." 
"It's 3 less than 10."


Star Words
I love seeing my students' eyes light up when they spot a star I've hidden somewhere in our classroom. They quickly (and quietly) get to work finding are recording them. Last time I really got tricky and taped a word to the ceiling! Hehe!


Games are not only beneficial for increasing motivation and academic learning... but for developing social skills as well. All throughout the year I model how to be a gracious looser AND winner. I praise students when I catch them saying "good game", "thanks for playing", or "that was fun even though I didn't win".

Today it made me glow with pride as I saw 4 of my student cooperatively taking turns (and practicing their addition facts) while playing Countdown during free choice time. I was on standby... but they didn't come to me to settle a dispute or talk to someone about a "ha, ha, I'm winning" comment.... NOT EVEN ONCE! *teacher happy dance* (We have come a long way since September!)

Research from this book pointed out that games encourage cooperation and problem solving. Talk about important building blocks for academic success!!

Games = Learning Disguised as FUN!


  1. I love the Fishy Words game as well as the Headbanz math edition ideas. I'm always looking for some quick game ideas and these are perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the Headbanz game for math! We made our own headbands out of sentence strips and are using them to describe shapes to one another.

    A Very Curious Class

  3. I love the Headbanz game for math and you could probably do other things with that game!! I like the fishy game too! Thanks for sharing!Melissa