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Games in the class room: a theoretical approach

It is always important to know why you want to include a game in your lesson plan. The students may always have fun with a game, but without sufficient thought as to the format and content of the game, a wonderful opportunity may be missed.

1. Identify the goals of your game: First, list the skills that the student acquire or use in the course of the activity. They can include some the of the following: Memory retention, reading skills, verb-consonant combinations and application of higher concepts.

Second, identify the social goals of the game: Do you want to build class spirit? Do you want to bolster individual student confidence?

2. Carefully design the format of the game: First, decide what game is appropriate both to the material and the dynamics/age of your classroom. Ensure that the rules of the game are sufficiently familiar that you will not be spending your entire time learning the construct of the game and skimping on the content. What is the appropriate length of the game. When is a quickie OK, when is a "longie"?

Tailor the game for the content/dynamics of the class. Jeopardy may be appropriate for History and not for Liturgy. Adjust the rules to the level of your class. Place it properly within the greater context of your lesson plan.

3. Adequately prepare for the game: Have the minimal setup (lose the attention of the students) time as possible. Have all materials ready. How will the students know the material for the game. Consider the use of worksheets or homework to prep your class. How will you "unpack" the game with the class?

This is merely a rough sketch of the kind of thinking that makes gaming in the best classroom successful. Every teacher knows their own class the best, and can decide what will fly in a given class. The most important thing to do is be comfortable with the format and content of the activity and have fun leading it.

Good luck!