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Best language games for use in the classroom? Teacher’s suggestions include You’ve been Sentenced!, Bananagrams and more!

March 10, 2012

Giles Pritchard is a teacher and a strong believer in the power that games can have in the classroom. On his blog, Castle by Moonlight, Pritchard recently wrote,

“Games can be a fun and useful tool for a range of reasons.  They be used to support or encourage literacy skills, communication and oral language, and of course logic and mathematics.  Most importantly they are a social activity; a shared experience that involves a range of interpersonal skills and interactions.  To me this is a fundamental aspect of what is unique to board and card games – of course there are programs and games that can simulate a similar shared experience, but board and card games excel in this domain.

I’m in the lucky position of having a reasonably large school game collection – we have something like 100 different games.  Over the years we’ve been building our games program I’ve tried to vary our collection to support different age levels, as well as ensure the games we have and use can be drawn upon to support a range of skill areas – especially language to mathematics.

This post I want to focus on a handful of those games I’ve used as a part of my literacy program.  I’ve often used games as a way of incorporating various language skills in an activity that is engaging and enjoyable – and when I use them it is not all about the learning – I want the experience to be social and enjoyable, but I do also want students to be thinking too…

You’ve Been Sentenced…This is a great game for sentence building – I’ve used this game as a one of the rotations a particular group might engage in over the course of a week. I’ve also used the cards in teacher directed lessons looking at the role of different word types within modeled sentences, or how verbs change, conjunctions are used and so on.  It is a challenging game for students who have difficulty forming multi-event sentences, especially as the best sentences often involves adjective, adverbs and so on – more complex forms of language that suit a learner of a particular level.  Nonetheless, it is a useful and specific tool, and as a game there is ample opportunity for the construction of amusing sentences – which makes the game experience enjoyable and interesting.”

To read more of Pritchard’s suggestion for using games in the classroom including Bananagrams, Word on the Street and more, visit Castle by Moonlight.

In addition to It’s how you play the game!  Susan Conforte McNeill also writes for the fashion site Susan Said What?! and is the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!

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