Here’s the problem: I only have 60 minutes of a math block, so when will I ever get the chance to play any math game?
Well, you can play math games throughout the day. In fact, it doesn’t have to be during your math block.
Here, I will show you seven times during your day when you can play math games.
1. Morning Work/ Bell Ringers
You can play math games during your morning work or bellringers. Here’s why I love this… You don’t have to prepare anything before students get to class. Since your games are already done, students come in and pick a game to play. It’s that easy. When it’s time to start the day, students clean up their materials and move along with their day. You have nothing to check, and students stay busy.
2. End Of The Day
Just like the morning, you can do this at the end of the day too! I like to call this time Ketchup – Mustard – Pickles times. Students “Ketchup” on work that they did not complete. Then, they “Mustard” or “Must Do” specific things like hanging up their pictures, cleaning their desk, and packing before they move on to pickles. Finally, they can move on to “PICKles” time. Students get to pick an activity.
There’s so much research that shows homework has little benefits. In my opinion, the effort outweighs the benefit. This is because I have to re-teach the strategies to my students after their parents teach them a different strategy at home. I try not to send homework, but I’ll be honest… Sometimes I do.
My favorite choice for sending homework is math games. The reason why is because it’s self-checking, and I don’t have to spend time reviewing each problem. I’m still giving my students opportunities to practice, and I’m making it fun in a way where they’re not arguing with the family about homework. Instead, they are playing with their family. So if you must send homework, this might be the way to go.
4. Early Finishers
When students complete their work early, what do you have them do? I like to give my students opportunities to play lower-level games. For example, my second graders use the first grade or kindergarten games. This really helped fill in the gaps and helped students see the connections from grade levels.
I like to use games for reviews. This is because games are engaging, and students would naturally talk to one another about how they got their answers. There is so much math discourse that goes on when students play games, and it’s all very natural. Students work together to answer questions, especially if they’re working with a partner on a team. They are working tirelessly together and getting such a great review.
Now of course you can use these games during your math time. Here are two ways I do that.
6. Center Partner Games
The first way is to create a partner center in your math block. We like to play math games in this center. Students work with their partners to answer questions, and there’s so much math discourse in this math center. Students also love that they can choose a way to play!
7. Small Group
I love using math games in my intervention groups because I lead the math chats and guide students on their problem-solving. They are immediately rewarded when playing games. This happens almost every time they answer in small groups because I’m leading them. Therefore, they feel like small groups are fun and not just another thing they “have to” do.
So here are seven times during the day when you can squeeze math games into your busy schedule, whether it be a Simply STEAM game or another fun math game.
For more fun math games to play with your students, check out my post here!