Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Chapter 4 {Games}

I'm linking up with Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle to share my take on Chapter 4, which was all about using games in the classroom.  My students love playing games in the classroom.

We love quick skill practice games like "Zap" or "Bang".  These can be used with cards or popsicle sticks and are generally quick to prep and easy to store.

Around Thanksgiving we had "Family Game Night" in my classroom.  Families were not invited, but I called it Family Game Night as we are a classroom family.  Students learned to play Trouble, Connect 4 and Candy Land.  I modified the Candy Land cards using ideas from Mel-D- Seusstastic.  She has a wide variety of different Candy Land cards available.   We've done everything from sight words to addition and subtraction facts.

My students also love the strategy game shared by Miss DeCarbo.  I have since recreated similar games using different seasonal clip art and themed counters.  I like these because they make kids think and they are quick, but students want to play them again and again.

I created a St. Patrick's Day version for you!  You can download it here.

One of the suggestions in this chapter was to allow students to create their own game.  The last couple weeks we've been playing I Have, Who Has in class.  I have a set of phonemic awareness I Have, Who Has games focusing on rhyming, matching initial sounds, and matching ending sounds.  I decided to take on this little adventure of allowing students to create a game using this format.  It was a bit of a learning curve for me to get the words in the correct place, but they were SO excited to get to make their own game!   Once the game is complete, a student was absent from this group and he needs to finish his set of cards, it will be added to our reading center for our class to enjoy.

The rhyming words are on the back of each sheet.  These will be laminated and cut into cards.

As the title of the book states, this chapter really reinforced for me that worksheets have a place in my classroom, but they shouldn't be the way all learning occurs.  Students love games, and when actively engaged in them, are learning more than just the academic concept you've included in the game.  My goal is to incorporate more games, and more specifically, more student-created games, in my classroom, especially during reading center time.

How do you incorporate games in your classroom?  What are some of your students' favorite games?


  1. Oh my word - you just ROCKED MY WORLD by having them create their own "I have, who has"....

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

    1. Thanks, Holly! They were pretty excited to do it!

  2. I love the idea of having them make their own I have Who Has...I can't wait to do something like that in my classroom! Melissa

    1. Thanks, Melissa! It was a hit. :)