Hi Everyone! Let's talk about games with children. We all know how important they are for so many reasons. As an Orton-Gillingham teacher, games play an integral part of EVERY lesson I create for my students. The information I can gather from playing a game with a child is incredibly valuable. And the kids I work with are just having fun. What a win/win! So if you are feeling overwhelmed with curriculum demands and mandates from administration, stop and think about how to create a learning experience in the form of a game. Here are five reasons to do it.
- Games are engaging. What's the best way kids learn? We all can answer that. Through play! And yet, we still see classrooms that could really use more of it. Games can get kids moving or just plain having fun. My own students love when they beat me in a game and giggle wildly when they do.
- Games make a deeper connection with your content. I create a review game every time I teach a lesson. That's a lot of games over the years! Sometimes, it's just a version of tic-tac-toe or concentration. Other times, I pull out my Jenga blocks. No matter how elaborate you get, the content you are trying to help a child master is there. You can make it multisensory and new brain connections will be forming as they play and learn. Powerful!
- Games remove the stress. I work with kids who struggle with reading. Taking time to play games is their lifesaver. It's a departure from a laborious task. I can see the calm take over and the playful side come out in a child when I introduce a game. It's practically tangible. And that my friends, is one of the reasons my job is SO awesome.
- Games are inclusive. Shy kid? No problem. When you begin a game with them that all goes away. You can ALWAYS find a way to differentiate a game for a child to include them. And they always appreciate it when you make that extra effort.
- Games are informative. Collecting data can be incredibly time consuming. But the evidence you gather from a child's performance in a game can drive your next moves in instruction. They won't know you're assessing them either. Another win/win for everyone.