Can we play a game? Students ask teachers this question daily. Finding great educational classroom games challenges teachers to think outside the box.
Tips for Playing Educational Classroom Games
- Ask Siri on an any Apple Device.
Talking to Siri is a quick way to get things done. Siri can flip a coin, pick a card, or roll a dice. Siri will also pick a random number. Ask Siri to set a timer. Students can also use Siri to search the web for answers to questions they don’t know.
2. Use games your students would play outside of school. Turn these into learning games by incorporating task cards.
Ten questions helps student focus on asking good questions to find appropriate answers. This educational classroom game encourages students start with broad ideas and then narrow these ideas down to relevant details. This high interest game-like activity works well when students must memorize facts for tests.
Rules for Playing Ten Questions
- One player draws a topic from the hat and keeps it a secret from the rest of the students.
- Students in the class take turns asking questions to the student who has drawn a word. Students answer with a simple “Yes” or “No.”
- The purpose is to try to determine which topic/word the student has drawn from the hat.
- If ten questions are asked without a correct guess, the student who has drawn from the hat wins.
- If a questioner guesses the correct topic/word, the questioner wins.
This game works especially well for the following:
- famous people
- historical events
- objects in space
- types of animals
- vocabulary words
Reverse the procedure.
- Have a student come to the front of the classroom and sit facing the students.
- The teacher writes a word/phrase/term/topic on the board so that the class can see it, but the student facing the class cannot.
- The student facing the class asks questions to members of the class that can be answered “Yes” or “No.”
- The student facing the class guesses the word/phrase/term/topic before ten questions are asked.
Spinning Wheels is a fun educational classroom game that gets students out of their seats and moving around while they master skills.
The activity requires students to wear or hold up a card with a word or phrase. Since I use the inexpensive lanyards for grouping students, (You can read about how I group students into cooperative learning groups here.) I have students place the cards with phrases inside their lanyards on top of their names.
The activity can be used with many skills. Here is just one example using positive and negative connotation to explain the procedure.
- Students place a phrase or sentence inside their lanyards.
- Students read their phrases and determine if they have positive or negative connotations.
- All students who have a phrase with negative connotation, form a large circle around the perimeter of the classroom facing the center of the room.
- The remainder of the students form a second circle inside the first. Each student finds a partner to face from the outer circle. If an odd number of students are present during the activity, the teacher will need to participate to make the numbers even. The diagram shows students’ feet positions. Playing the Game
- The object of the activity is for each student to read a partner’s phrase and change the connotation. For example if the partner’s phrase says, “The flabby elephant stormed around the circus ring,” the student could change it to say, “The pudgy elephant pranced around the circus ring.”
- When a signal is given, the students in the inner circle will begin by reading the phrases showing negative connotation, changing the connotation, and then telling their partners the new phrases. Next the students with the phrases showing positive connotation will have a turn.
- Students must work quickly because after a few seconds a signal is given, and the inner circle will move by rotating to the next person in a clockwise rotation. The outer circle will remain stationary.
- Each time students reach a new partner, they repeat the process until the inner circle makes one full revolution. At this time the partners will trade places so that the students with the phrases showing negative connotation are now in the inner circle and the students with the positive connotation are in the outer circle. The activity will continue with the inner circle rotating once more.
- After hearing each person in the class change your phrase, do you have one that stood out as exceptional that you would like to share with the class?
- In many cases changing just one or two words creates a phrase with an entirely different meaning. Can you think of an example of this that occurred during the activity?
Ways to Use the Activity
- Vocabulary Words and Definitions
- Provide Synonyms, Antonyms, or Homonyms
- Correcting Mistakes in Grammar, Spelling, Capitalization, or Punctuation
- Fill in the Blanks
- Naming Parts of Speech
Basically any short answer question will work. Make sure the students holding the cards know the answers and can correct partners that provide incorrect answers. The easiest way to do this is to have the answers on the backs of the cards.
More Educational Classroom Games
Fish in a Bowl, Couch Game, and More