Games in the Classroom

by Bret

Some of you may know that while I may blog at night, by day I am a teacher. Not that great of one but I try every once in a while. Being an avid board gamer, I naturally am always looking for ways to incorporate game play into the educating of my students. Lately, I have had some success.

No, it’s not Plinko. I’m not nearly that cool! Last week I wrote up my first session report for Boardgamegeek as a means to share my experience with other gamers, specifically other gamer teachers, who may want to use and hopefully improve on my use of games as a teaching tool. (we have a guild on the site specifically designed to share ideas as well). This one is using a game called Twilight Struggle (which happens to be the #1 Wargame and #3 boardgame overall right now) for my Current Events class for my Cold War Unit.

There I delineate my strategy, how it went and my thoughts and reactions. I’d really love to hear from anyone over here your ideas/thoughts on the subject (over here, you need an account to comment there, though that’s free:), especially regarding games as a teaching tool in general. What games have you used and how? How should games be used in the classroom or should they be used at all? What methods of using them are better than others?

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2 thoughts on “Games in the Classroom

  1. I wish more teachers were like you!

    I’m a fan of anything that 1) gets kids out of their seats and 2) gets them thinking/using information in new ways.

    I’m not a professional teacher, but I teach a Sunday School class for 10-11 year old girls. I’ve been doing it for about four years now. My goal has always been to make Sunday School fun, a place they want to be, rather than another boring hour of church to sit through.

    I try to get really creative with how I present the lesson material. Some things I’ve done:

    1. Created a board game (aren’t you proud?). Just a simple move-the-pieces around a path on the board, drawing a card each time. The cards have info or questions about the lesson. There’s no “winner.”

    2. We do a lot of play-acting. Girls love this. I’ve found it best with most girls to have a script they can follow. Many of them (especially the shy ones) are not so good at ad-libbing.

    3. Word puzzles, matching games, even multiple-choice worksheets. I stopped doing the latter because I had a girl who wasn’t a good reader and she’d complain about it being too much like school. I always tried to make them entertaining by having at least one goofy choice for each question though.

    4. Leaving the classroom on a “journey.” These lessons are always a big hit.

    There’s lots of other things I’ve done but you get the idea. And of course Sunday School is nothing like a high school class. :)

  2. Wow Susan, talk about magnifying your calling!! I took the easy route of adapting an existing game and here you’re MAKING UP your own! That’s a LOT of work. I’m impressed even if it may seem simple and for kids.

    There’s a couple Bible games I own I’ve been meaning to try out that may work for a Sunday School class for kids. Ark of the Covenant, which is just a Bible version of Carcassonne and Jericho.

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