Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites (Chapter 4)

Good Morning!
     I meant to link up yesterday but the day got away from me.  I'm linking up for a book study that many teachers/bloggers are doing together to grow in our best practices in our classrooms.  Today we are sharing our thoughts on chapter 4: using games.  Click the picture to link up with us or just leave your thoughts in the comments. 

I was so excited to read this chapter.  I love games!  I love using them in my classroom.  To read about the power of using games just affirmed what I have observed in my students when I use the games.  They are engaged, they are excited about learning, and they are having fun!  You know what?  Students learn best from each other.  They are best able to talk to each other at their level and scaffold each other's learning.  I think that I just need to get out of the way!  :)

One of my most popular products in my TpT store is my SPLAT! games.  Here are some students playing Apple short vowel SPLAT!  SPLAT! is played very similarly to slap jack.

Getting ready to SPLAT!

 Look at this crew playing so nicely.  I can't show faces but I can just sense the intense concentration.  :)

 Oh SPLAT!  Look who has quite the stash!
I remember a first grade class a few years back that really loved math.  I remember one of my sweeties saying to me at the end of our math block "Wait!  That was math?  That was so fun!"  That was 10 years ago folks so that really stuck with me.  I was moving out of state at the end of the year and so my room moms put together a memory book for me.  Almost every one of the kiddos stated that their favorite subject was math.  I asked them why.  I was curious what we did as a class that was so great in math.  Turns out they loved the math games.

I have SPLAT! for short vowels, long vowels, ABCs, numbers, colors, telling time, fractions, place value and many more concepts.  Short vowel apple Apple SPLAT! is a freebie.  You can head over to my TpT store to grab it or I've uploaded it for you to grab here.

I also love a sight word game called KABOOM!  Have you played it?  I wish I had pictures but I don't.  Basically, students take turns pulling sight words out of a container.  If they read it correctly they keep the word, if not, they have to put it back.  If a student draws a KABOOM! card they have to put all their words back.  Winner is the student with the most words.  I have KABOOM! games for FRY words 1-400.

Then I seem to have this obsession with go fish games.  I've done the same with go fish that I have with SPLAT!  Ten frame go fish, place value go fish, numbers go fish, telling time go fish, etc...  Maybe I have a problem??  Ha ha!
 Here are some students playing place value go fish...  notice the matches to the side.
 Students have to ask for a match by number or in expanded form.
 Do you have 7 hundreds, 4 tens, 3 ones?  Yes?  Yay!

I need to make sure I put some piece of accountability into the games.  This is an area where I can really grow.  Also, I used to let my students get out the board games as a reward on Friday afternoons.  I would collect board games like Sorry, LIFE, Scrabble Jr., Chutes and Ladders, etc...  My kids loved board game Fridays.  Sadly, it went away as the pressure grew to meet standards and spend more time on instruction.  Need to find a way to bring it back... 
 My big take away?  The most powerful thing we can do as teachers sometimes is to get out of the way.  Not all the time.  But this chapter was a powerful reminder of the need for my students to learn from each other.  What were your big take-aways? 


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