Playing with history

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Ms. Rowles, I just love your lesson ideas and your site! I found this wonderful classroom blog when I was searching for posts about classroom games. If you have read any of my books on differentiation, you know that I am somewhat obsessed with the use of board games in the classroom. The Hitler/World War II games I found here are some of the best I have ever seen and I was delighted to read that students not only found great joy in playing the games but that they aced the assessment as well.

In my bookFrom Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks, my co-author, Sheila Danaher, and I wrote about using board games in the classroom. So many students profit from the novelty and excitement that games can bring to learning, so we advocate using them in the classroom even when you don’t have access to student-created versions. You can simply adapt games you already have at home. Just decide on the objectives, skills, or knowledge you want to teach or reinforce (e.g, adding fractions, speaking in complete sentences, generating adjectives, learning about famous American women) and change the rules, the content, the format, or the objective of a board or card game that is familiar to your learners. Games can be adapted with sticky notes, permanent makers, extra supplies from other games, new cards, or stickers and pictures. You can also adapt games to make them more accessible. For instance, instead of using a regular pair of dice, substitute large fuzzy dice or integrate a student’s favorite toys (e.g., use a Mickey Mouse figurine instead of a colored marker) into the game.

Could you see integrating student-created or adapted games into your classroom this year?

About Paula Kluth