As a teacher, feeling guilty is easy when you’re “having fun” because you want to ensure your students are learning. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why should students play games in school?” You’re not alone.
But rest assured, there are many reasons why your students should play games in school. So if you’re ever feeling guilty, read through this list to ease your worries.
If you’ve never used the Simply STEAM Math Games and Grammar Games before, you may wonder what makes them different from any other content-based games. You can check out a few of the benefits of playing games here, but in this post, I’ll share the 10 incredible ways playing games supports learning.
Before diving in, I want to mention that these games are created with Common Core standards in mind. I break down the skills and concepts within each standard as I make the game cards. So, the games are perfectly aligned with the Common Core Standards you’re teaching from.
Now let’s talk about how these games (and others) can help you in the classroom!
1. Build Fluency
When students play these Math Games and Grammar Games, they must read the question on the task cards aloud. What does this do? It builds fluency. To keep the game lively and fascinating, students must read easily to keep their group engaged. It’s always great for students to practice reading across subjects too.
Practice Listening Skills
When students aren’t reading the questions themselves, they listen to their classmates read them. To answer the questions correctly, students must listen and comprehend what the other players say. This helps them practice building their listening skills.
3. Provide Opportunities to Speak
Math Games and Grammar Games also allow students to discuss and answer questions orally. When students discuss, they talk with their group and provide evidence for their answers. With opportunities to build listening, speaking, and reading skills, incorporating Grammar Games in your ELA block is a no-brainer!
And while students don’t traditionally write while using these games, it’s important to note that speaking is a stepping stone in the writing process.
4. Give Immediate Feedback & Rewards
When creating these games, I wanted to incorporate the 8 effective teaching strategies that Robert Marzano and John Hattie agreed on, and I did!
One of these strategies includes rewarding answers with immediate feedback. These self-checking task cards have the answer on the back for students to easily reference. If players get the answer correct, they earn the points or materials displayed on the back of the card. If students don’t answer correctly, it also allows them to discuss why their answer was incorrect.
5. Break Down the Standards
As I mentioned above, we know that some standards contain more content than others, including several skills students must master. So when I began creating these cards, I broke down the standards along with each skill and concept. This way, you know that students will specifically have practice with each standard.
6. Apply Knowledge
Students apply their knowledge to answer math and grammar questions. This application of knowledge is a little higher on Bloom’s Taxonomy scale as it has students practice being critical thinkers and applying their knowledge to answer the questions.
7. Engage Students
We want students to be engaged throughout the learning process! These Math Games and Grammar Games do just that as players compete to win. My students take the competition aspect very seriously, and I know yours will too! Plus, playing to learn is always a great way to keep students on task during centers.
8. Provide Multiple Exposures
As with anything, practice makes perfect. By adding these to your centers, students will have multiple exposures to standards-aligned games. This is another high-yield strategy from Robert Marzano and John Hattie, who agree that multiple exposures to a task lead students to mastery.
As students have ample opportunities to play these Math Games and Grammar Games, they will become more confident with each standard.
These games also encourage teamwork. Players who are working on teams must talk about the problem and think critically together before sharing the answer. I’ve found that students truly enjoy working together to answer these game card questions. It also helps students build strong relationships with their classmates.
10. Build Student Efficacy
Efficacy is a fancy word for confidence, and confidence is something we want to promote within our classrooms! Students with efficacy view themselves differently regarding a specific skill or concept. With these games, you’ll find that even students who struggle initially get better with time.
The more exposure they have (see #8), the stronger their student efficacy.
If not, try out my Noun Grammar Game and see for yourself! You’ll see in no time how effective these games are within your center rotation.
Why should students play games in school?
In summary, games have many benefits for student learning. They encourage and motivate students to participate, exposing them to standards and building confidence. Don’t feel guilty for having fun!