Adding Games to Lessons

I was prepping for lessons this week while also prepping for a new PD I’m pitching on Gamifying Lessons… and I realized my lessons didn’t have games in them. Well, I fixed that real quick and immediately upped the ante in student engagement.

I’ve always used games in teaching the “Power of Yet” in Mindset Matters, but the truth is that I would be wise to follow the joy of games in more lessons.

And research shows that humans get a big dopamine hit not only in winning a game, but in hoping to “win”. That’s why we heighten our attention for games… and so do kids.

Here is a list of games you can easily integrate into most any lesson:

  • Brain Teasers (here is the mother load… start any lesson with one of these as a hook… but truly love them to teach growth mindset and the power of yet)
  • Otrio: This is a board game that is worth every penny… it’s 3D Tic-Tac Toe. I actually have 2 of them so we can do tournaments in group.
  • Guessing Game: What is the Subject of the Lesson: Check out this has disappearing blocks. Put an image of what the lesson topic is and arrange the image to “move backward” in the slide. It’s a great hook for a lesson.
  • Jeopardy (I’m working on a general template, but there are plenty out there). I typically teach for about 10 minutes and let the students take notes on their desks with dry erase marker. Then when we play, they can refer back to their notes and also keep score on their desks.
  • Eggspert ( Can do this as a gameshow in a class, centers, or small groups. I have had more teachers ask to borrow this than any other item in my room)
  • Stickman or Spaceman (what we as kids called hangman) I like to start lessons with this so that they can guess the subject of the lesson
  • Giant Jenga Put stickers on some pieces and if they take out that block, students have to answer a question.
  • Four Corners (I do this with empathy, peer pressure, and responsibility… again ask if you want deets)
  • Pick a Card Any Card: Write some questions on index cards about the lesson, as well as some silly challenges, and one card that says PRIZE. Good listeners are periodically ask to “Pick a Card Any Card”
  • Wheel of Fun (enough said… ask me more if you want this explained, but see photo above).
  • M & M Game teaching about Peer Pressure (this is my most popular blog post and a great lesson!)

If you are reading this far, I hope you are inspired to add a game to your next lesson. It really makes for a better connection with students and the kids aren’t the only ones having more fun. 😉

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