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Howdy, y’all, if you’ve been with us so far, you know we love our little learners and our little learners love playing games. So why don’t we give them something to look forward to in the classroom. That’s right, let’s give our elementary learners what they want, let’s do game based learning.
Now if you’re skeptical about this, that’s a good thing, it means you care. But stay with us and we’ll change your mind soon.
Why IMPLEMENT GAME BASED LEARNING
Elementary learners are young, mischievous, and full of energy. Having them sit down and pay attention is not only a tall order but it takes away from their innate eagerness. Using games, however, is a very creative way of harnessing their energy and directing it towards educational goals.
With this, elementary graders will not only pay a greater amount of attention to instructed activities but may also start to associate positive feelings with in-class learning. The latter can be especially important for children who may have attached a negative connotation to school, such as a place they are forced to go to every day.
Finally, mixing games with learning can break away from the monotony of everyday classes and keep student engagement and anticipation at an all-time high.
EASY TO IMPLEMENT GaME BASED LEARNING AcTIVITIES
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can implement easy games to mix learning with fun:
This is an easy to play game and requires pairs of students to play. The purpose of the game is to develop a student’s imagination and their listening and describing abilities.
For this game, two students will sit with their backs to each other. You will provide one student with a page and a drawing pencil, while the other student will be provided with a picture. Now without looking at each other the student with the picture will try to describe what to draw to the other student. And again just by following the audible instructions, the other student will draw.
An activity done in groups of ten or more students. The objective of this game is to improve coordination and listening abilities in children. The crazy train is basically just a human train, where the kids line up to form a train. Afterwards, the instructor or designated leader will shout out commands such as slow-do, move fast, go-right or go-left to get the train to start and reach a goal position.
This is a fun quiz-based game and is purposed to develop the student’s cognitive abilities. For this game, students will be divided into groups of two or more. Based on the groups you will draw a start and finish line on the board. Afterward, the instructor will ask students questions such as what fruit is red and round or how many students are present today. Whenever a group gets an answer right, their position on the board is moved a step closer to the goal.
This game tests a student’s ability to react and follow patterns. The game can essentially be played in myriad ways but the general idea behind it is to replace a word or letter in a sequence with the word buzz. For example, one way to play it is to arrange your students in a circle and they have to count from one to 100. However, every time the number 5 or its multiple comes up, they have to say buzz instead.
Jump the line
This is an end of lesson/day activity that is purposed to revise what the students learned throughout the day. Simply draw a line with chalk or a string and ask your students to stand on it. Now ask true or false questions based on what you covered in the day. If the student thinks the answer is true they go to the right side and left for false.
A game that focuses on quick thinking abilities of the student. In this game, you will make the students sit in a circle and give them an object to pass around (like a small plush toy or pillow) within a given time. Next, you will choose a topic e.g. colors or ice-cream flavor. Students need to pass the object, but the catch is they can only pass if they say a word related to the topic, like the color blue for topic colors, or chocolate for ice-cream flavor. If the time runs out, the student holding the object gets eliminated from the game.
This is a popular Japanese game that can test a child’s vocabulary. For this game, the students will sit in a circle and the first student will start with a random word. The next student will have to use the last alphabet from the spoken word to form a new word for example if the first student says bus, the next student has to make a word from the letter s and so on. This is a classical game that mixes fun with learning.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
These were just some of the games you can play with your class to promote an active learning experience with an element of fun mixed in. But before you embark on this journey of mixing games with learning, make sure you understand the purpose and rules of each game. Always do dry runs and make sure that the game is easy enough for students to follow. A hard game might have the opposite effect of discouraging students from actively participating. So always cover your bases before you help your elementary graders cover theirs.