Happy weekend, everyone! I hope you had a great week, and for those of you in the Midwest, I hope you’re warm and cozy with all that snow. Today’s post is about using game boards in the classroom. With the technology available today, it’s so easy to bring up a game on the SMARTBoard, or go to ABCya.com or Softschool.com and pull up games for the kids to play to practice and reinforce skills, but there’s something about two or three kiddos engaging in a hands-on game with actual physical materials that promotes direct interaction between the kids
Think about it. When they’re playing on the computer, they’re looking at the computer. One child at a time is manipulating the mouse. The others are watching and giving verbal input, but not connecting the tactile with the mental action. As the kids are talking to each other, they are not looking at each other. There’s little eye-to-eye contact going on. Most of it is eye-to-screen. I wonder what pathways that develops (or doesn’t develop) in the brain?
Now give them a game board and word cards and a spinner or dice and observe how their interactions change. They face each other. They look each other in the eye. They talk TO each other. They respond to verbal and non-verbal cues that are sent out. As they think, they are matching a tactile movement to their thoughts. They engage more of their senses in the learning process.
I developed this game board initially to use as a way to practice sight words but yesterday, the children used it to practice their spelling words. First they broke into groups of two or three. One student read the word to the other.
The partner spells the word. If they spell it correctly, they get to spin the paperclip spinner and move that number of spaces.
The kids absolutely loved playing this game, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well most of them spelled their spelling words! Now, if I can just get them to apply that to their writing, but I do think the more we play games like this, the better it will become.
This game board is so versatile. It is very open-ended and can be used any number of ways. If you’d like to get this for your classroom, click the picture below to download it from the For Fans Only section of my Facebook page.
Let me end by saying I am not anti-technology. I love using technology in the classroom, and increasingly, our children come to us already connected to the technology with iPads, tablets, eReaders, computers, laptops, smartphones, and laptops. It is quickly becoming a part of our global community, and children need to know how to use these tools. But let’s not forget about the opposite end of the spectrum, and the important skills that are developed through this low-tech approach to teaching!