Have you ever found yourself in a mad dash, desperately attempting to manage a district-mandated curriculum that is as appetizing as stale bread? Yep, been there, done that!
It’s time to have a conversation about how to schedule games into your mandated curriculum and into that jam-packed schedule of yours.
In this blog post, I’ll share five simple ways to make time for games. Trust me, it’s feasible and a complete game-changer for your classroom.
Let me explain why I want to show you how to schedule games into your curriculum:
Games in the classroom are extremely beneficial.
I mean, we have to work with cookie-cutter curriculums and it’s just unfair to our kids who aren’t cookie-cutter thinkers.
Each child is unique, so teaching them should be too. Some kids need to be more hands-on, while others need social experiences.
In a world where face time is being outdone by screen time, our kiddos need to build social skills.
Those skills are what allow them to make friends and cope with social situations, and we’re taking that from them with scripted lessons. ❌
We don’t always win in life, and learning, that can be tough for kids, too. Games teach us how to lose gracefully as well as appreciate winning without bragging.
Games aren’t just something used to waste time. They’re essential tools needed for learning in the classroom.
So, let’s get to these ideas for when you can schedule games into your curriculum.
Schedule Idea #1: Morning Wake-Up 🌞
Let us commence on the right foot. As your students stumble in, still half-asleep, get their gears turning with play.
It’s so simple. Just let them choose how they want to play from choices like cup stacking to STEM Boxes.
It’s an effortless warm-up that not only encourages social interaction but also dispels the lingering morning haze.
By the time the bell chimes, they are wide awake, attentive, and genuinely thrilled to be present!
Schedule Idea #2: Quiz Review📝
Preparing for a test? Review with a game! It’s like feeding your students a smoothy and sneaking spinach in it.
Games can transform bland subjects such as math or grammar into captivating experiences.
And here’s the best part: Your students will enter testing feeling confident rather than drowning in anxiety.
Schedule Idea #3: The Five-Minute Miracle ⏱️
Believe me when I say this works wonders.
Set a timer for just five minutes and let them play a game like these Digital Math Games.
You could also use games like Race to 20 (included in the Simply STEAM Math & Grammar bundles) during this time.
It’s low-risk and entirely focused on surpassing their own personal records. Take advantage of those precious pockets of time, and you’ll see their fluency skyrocket.
Schedule Idea #4: End of Day Routine 🎉
Finally, do not dismiss those last thirty minutes as mere clean-up time. In our classroom, we refer to it as “Flex Grouping” time.
I reserve this time to provide interventions or catch-up work for specific students while the rest of the class indulges in “Ketchup, Mustard, Pickles” time (yes, it’s as good as it sounds!).
It serves as the perfect ending to an action-packed day.
Schedule Idea #5: Centers & Stations
Oh, how could I forget? Math and Literacy Centers are like the bread and butter of our classroom! 🍞🧈
Partner games are an absolute sensation here. Give students the freedom to select their game, team up with a buddy, and voila! Skill-building in motion.
And let’s talk smart strategy: I love to put games below grade level into my centers.
Why? Because we’re filling those gaps from previous years. So when it’s time to tackle the current priority standards, our foundation is rock solid. 🏆
❌ Don’t waste your time searching for games on Pinterest! I have tons of options in my TPT shop here.
Need some small group time? I love using teacher-led games during this time so we can focus on strategies.
Playing games with my students allows me the opportunity to observe the progress of each student.
There are many more ways than you could possibly imagine to schedule games into your curriculum.
So what are you waiting for? Let the games begin!
Want a peek into how I schedule my daily math block?
Check out How to Schedule a Daily Math Block.
You’ll also find editable choice boards that’ll help you blend in that dry district curriculum. 😉
Now you can schedule games into your curriculum without losing your mind! 🎉
And there you have it! No more excuses. Games serve a greater purpose than just filling time; they help build essential skills.
And if you’re wondering how to elevate engagement even further, I have just the solution for you.
Click the link to grab your FREE copy of 15 Strategies for Engagement in Math. After all, no one has time for anxiety. 🙅♀️
- “How to Schedule a Daily Math Block“ — A practical guide for fitting games into the schedule.
- “How to Introduce Simply STEAM Math and Grammar Games“ — Makes it easy for teachers to get started.
- “Tips for Organizing Simply STEAM Math and Grammar Games” — Adds the logistics angle, because hey, we gotta keep those games somewhere!
- “The Best Way to End Your Day” — Explains how to end the day using ketchup mustard pickles time.