Everyone loves to play games whether you’re big, small, old or young.
With that in mind, whatever you are teaching, it’s worth asking yourself “can this be made into a game”? “Hell yes!” should be the resounding answer and there is a plethora of research out there to back this up! Here are just a few:
- Gamifying education – International Journal of Educational Technology
- The benefits of gamification
- Gamification and gameful approaches in education
Here are 3 easy steps to gamify your lesson:
- Select the mode you would like to use. Will it be a physical hold-the-pieces type of game, like a board game or Pictionary? Your game could be physical, like revision touch football or Maths in the Mud. Technology gives you so many different layers to make learning fun like using; Kahoot, Turning Point, Flash Cards or QR codes. No matter what you choose – make it fun & you will have much less behaviour to deal with!
2. Gather your resources. What will you need to make the game a reality? They could be as simple as using a dice or as complex as a full-blown board game. Sometimes, the best games are the ones the students come up with to help with their own learning, which helps deepen the understanding of the concept.
One of the most important things you can do in this phase is to actually play the game before the kids do. That way, you know what it will look and feel like when you’re in the game and where issues will pop up. This will be key in the smooth running of your game when you’re ready for step 3!
3. Set the time. When will you be doing this? Will the game-making become part of the lesson or will it be homework? Sometimes we over think this phase. Let it happen and watch the magic!
I use this easy 3 step approach all the time and you know you have it right when the kids walk out of the classroom thinking that all they did was play games all lesson instead of ‘learning’. Bam! Gotcha! What they didn’t know was that while they were ‘playing the game’, they were referencing the textbook, drawing models, applying knowledge and strengthening their links to stored information while building their soft skills of; communication, problem solving, skimming and scanning, and teamwork. This type of a lesson is certainly win-win and it’s interesting for everyone!
Gamifying your lessons automatically builds cultural responsiveness into your sessions, as they inherently take on a community feel and a ‘learning by doing’ aspect. Don’t just take my word for it, there’s plenty of research to back this up!
Do you have any favourite games you play in the classroom? I like using ‘Maths in the Mud’ for revision (of maths of course, but you can substitute any topic!). Kahoot! is a great way to build revision sessions and the kids absolutely love it. You can build the questions OR what is even more engaging is when the kids build the revision for the class. They love the competition and they get to see their individual/team name up on the screen. Sometimes it’s the little things!
For more ideas about using games including subject specific games that are already created, check out 8 Awesome websites for classroom games.
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Have an awesome day!