4 Great Ways to Use Ed-Tech to Build Communication Skills in the Elementary Classroom

 

If you read my recent post about my return to blogging, you’ll have seen that I’ve been on a bit of a crusade at my school to prove that ed-tech can be, should be, and is being, used to develop the communication skills of students (If you haven’t read it you can find it here).

 

One of the positives that came from the frustrating conversation that happily pushed me back into blogging, was that I set about putting together a list of practical ways educators could do this.  It’s not enough to tell time-pressured teachers than you can, in theory, do something. I’ve learned in the past 18 months that giving people something they can directly transfer to their classrooms is critical.  So, without further rambling from me, here are some suggestions for ways to build communication skills in the primary classroom (secondary suggestions hopefully coming soon, too!):

 

Chatterpix Kids by Duck Duck Moose

If you teach or have young (3-8) children and haven’t already checked out Duck Duck Moose’s app (they’ve recently joined the Khan Academy family) then go and do that now, then come back – we’ll wait for you.

 

What does it do?

Chatterpix Kids is a very simple app, you snap a picture, draw a line where you want the ‘mouth’ to move, then record what you want to say.  You can also add in a few simple extras such as stickers (funny hats are a big hit with my 6-7 year olds), text, frames, etc.  Then watch your creations, export them to share, or make another.

 

How could I use it in class tomorrow?

  • To practise giving opinions on a topic/story/event – we recently used it to discuss Chinese New Year, practising giving specific reasons for our opinions (rather than ‘I like it because it is nice.’)
  • Give feedback on work for a partner
  • Student created definitions/points of interest for vocab and topics (share them on your class site, Google Classrooms, Edmodo, blog, etc.)

 

How is this helping build communication skills?

  • Get all the students are speaking.  Every kid in my class loves doing this, even the shy ones – they can choose whether only I see it, they share it with a couple of friends, or add it to the whole-class mele.
  • It’s a great differentiation tool (you can vary what they speak about, but have all kids join in)
  • Add in a listening station – playback a couple of classmates chatterpix and give them feedback
  • Confidence – okay so the first time in particular everyone gets the nervous giggles about how silly they look.  But then they realise they can talk about things, they do have great ideas, etc.

 

ThingLink – www.thinglink.com

 

What does it do?

ThingLink allows you (or students) to annotate pictures or video clips with notes.  You could use it in a number of ways, but I primarily use it as a discussion prompt.  I add questions to the tags, discussion ideas, etc. and send my students a link to the saved version.  They click on each tag to see the questions/prompts I’ve added, then my kids work in pairs/small groups to go through them and discuss them together.  We model and practice language that helps us have good discussions at the start of the year (e.g. I agree with ___, and would add… , I understand your point, however I think…) and recap it for these lessons.

 

How could I use it in class tomorrow?

  • Activating Prior Knowledge – bring up a picture for a new topic and add some discussion points – what do your class already know about this?
  • Apply new understanding – I recently used this to give students chance to discuss how different objects met, or did not meet, the 7 life processes

 

How is this helping build communication skills?

  • I have 26 kids in my class.  With the best will in the world I could never, and would never, oversee every discussion they have.  But sometimes, they need a little help staying on track with their discussions.  This way I can, virtually, be there to provide a new question when they need to move on, but they have the freedom to practise without me over their shoulder and can decide how long to spend on each question.  I’m able to get them working independently of me, but with support right there if they need it.
  • Differentiation – I can change the questions as I need to.  Or I can mix up the students working together.  They can change the pace.  They can choose to go on a (reasonable) tangent, or stick to just what I asked).  I can go to groups/students who need me most. Pretty awesome, right?
  • Asking questions – eventually my class get to a point where they are able to set questions too, and then share them with each other – adding another great strand to their communication skills

 

Podcasting/Vodcasting

For this I use Audacity for podcasts, which free and pretty simple, but there are plenty of other options out there too.  For vodcasts we keep it simple with either Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.  

What does it do?

Recoding a podcast is a bit like a radio show, only instead of broadcasting it live over the radio, you record it to your device to listen back or share later.

How could I use it in class tomorrow?

  • Book Club discussions – record a round table discussion of a book
  • Record a drama performance
  • Discuss world events
  • Perform poetry pieces
  • Interviews
  • School News

How is this helping build communication skills?

  • Students will be able to plan, script and then record their podcast pulling in so many skills
  • Builds teamwork and collaboration
  • Again, builds confidence in speaking
  • Allows students to listen to their own work, and that of other students, and reflect on them together

 

Skype in the Classroom from Microsoft – https://education.microsoft.com/skype-in-the-classroom/overview

Microsoft are busily chasing down the the likes of Google and Edmodo in providing great services for education (we can compare them another time!).  But a lot of their ideas are, as yet, relatively undiscovered! Skype in the Classroom is a great communication tool.  Last year whilst studying Oceans we were able to Skype an expert, a non-fiction author, direct from our classroom!

What does it do?

You use Skype to connect your class to guest speakers, virtual field trips, other schools, to collaborate on projects, or all of the above!

How could I use it in class tomorrow?

Visit the website and check out the experiences available and then schedule one for your class! My school is not in the US, where many using the service are, but plenty of those offering their expert services have been great at working with us on finding a suitable time!

Use it in connection to:

  • Theme units
  • Geography and History
  • Science
  • Author studies
  • More!

How is this helping build communication skills?

We prep for our Skype session in advance, thinking of topics and questions in small groups. But then we get the chance to actually speak to experts or other students and really put our communication skills into practice!
Clearly, this list is not extensive, it’s not really meant to be.  It’s simply intended to share a few ideas from my own practice, and to help other teachers to think of a few simple ways to use tech to support those all important interpersonal skills!

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Encouraging Reluctant Readers

I’m back in the UK at the moment for our summer break before we head over to our new school and home in Malaysia in August.  You might think that means I’d have more time to write, but I’ll be honest here I’m spending it all with my little boy and our families – today for example I’m writing this while he naps after a busy trip to a farm a day at the zoo an evening with his grandma and cousin (okay so it took a while to write this)!

Still, with the 2014-5 school year now finished my thoughts are turning more and more to the year ahead. One of the biggest successes in my classroom for the last couple of years was the incredible experiencing of turning some reluctant readers into real bookworms! This love of reading is something I really want to build into everything I do with my new class.  With that in mind I started to think, and write, about some of the strategies I have been using, or wish to try out, to encourage those reluctant readers:

Reading Corner or Classroom Library

Ask my students what their favourite place is in my classroom and I’m pretty sure almost all would reply ‘the readers’ corner’ and this isn’t by accident.  When I set up my classroom (which I’ll be writing about more later)  I always start out with my reading area first.  This has to be a few things:

  • Easy for students to access and easy for me to see everyone whilst working in other areas of the classroom
  • Inviting – students should want to be there
  • Comfortable (obviously!)
  • Easy to organise/maintain

Having a great reading area makes a huge difference because it makes reading feel special.  This is a vital part of the overall effect I’m going for.  I’m also aware that my more confident readers aren’t quite as reliant on feeling comfortable and relaxed as my emergent or reluctant readers, so if needed I can tailor the space to the latter. Generally my reading corner last year was more about being a comfy space than storing books effectively due to our school set up.  That meant it had some nice rugs on the floor (bath mats make great individual/paired reading spaces), a mixture of cushions (big, small, softer, harder, different colours, etc.), a bright but not too distracting display area and some colourful decoration (last year this was some colourful scarves hung over the window).

What is in your reading area/classroom library will vary hugely based on space and resources but with some creative thinking, like the bath mats as reading rugs, it is easier than you might think to create a warm, inviting space. If you’re struggling for inspiration I’d highly recommend searching ‘classroom library’ on Pinterest.

Visual bookcase

This is a great follow on to the reading corner, because it can be included as part of the design.  I used the back of a book case (it was being used as both a case and a space divider) to make a pretend bookcase.  It was covered in brown paper and had ‘shelves’ drawn on (actually stuck on using long strips of black paper) and I provided strips of coloured paper in different sizes to be the spines of books on the case.  My students would read a book and when finished make their own book spine for it and stick it on to the case.  When the case was filled up we had a class celebration. This worked in a number of ways;

  • It encouraged students to read more without pitting individuals against each other (this can work really well sometimes but would not have been the right fit for my class)
  • It was a way for students to celebrate each and every book they read
  • The students could see what their classmates were reading an draw inspiration from it
  • It was a visual reminder of how much great reading progress we were making!

Positive Modelling

Just as I do with my son, I also model being a good reader with my students. Now, this doesn’t mean I leave them to their own devices during maths to read a novel I’ve picked up… but I do talk to my students about what I’m reading as well as reading aloud in class daily. Once children are able to read it’s easy to fall into the trap of not reading to them as much, but its still absolutely crucial that children hear expert reading daily.  If possible I do also strongly encourage buddy reading systems with students from older classes which has multiple benefits for all those involved!

Further more it is important to model good reading procedures (reading to self, someone, etc.) for your class. As with so many things in class I follow a simple but effective procedure for modelling early in the year when we’re establishing good reading habits:

1. Discuss the behavioural expectations clearly with your students: talk about what ‘good behaviour’ would include, and what it doesn’t include.  If you are vague in your expectations you force your students to try to figure them out, which leads to increased distractions and reduces positive engagement.  For example, when we are doing a ‘Reading to Self’ session expectations might include reading the whole time, staying in one place, reading silently, not distracting others, etc.

2. Have a student model all these great behaviours: let the other students see what it looks like to follow all the rules and give lots of praise.

3. Negative modelling: Choose a student (some teachers choose a child here who is more likely to struggle to follow the rules in class) to get everything wrong.  Clearly tell them to break as many of the rules as they can, your class will find this incredibly funny and that’s great! Then, and this is crucial, have the same student show everyone how to do it correctly once more.

4. Short practice: Get everyone in the class to practice all the correct reading procedures together, but just for a short, easily achievable time.

5. Slowly build up the time spent, reviewing the procedures and rules regularly for a few weeks.

Wide choice

Often with reluctant readers the key lies in getting them ‘hooked’ with that one really special book.  For a young sports-mad student I had recently the ‘Diary of…’ series by Shamini Flint (not the Wimpy Kid series, although that also works well to encourage readers!) was akin to an elixir – once he started reading he simply never stopped!  Something I’m working on at the moment, but that is surprisingly tough, is building a good non-fiction selection.  For so many readers non-fiction appeals more than fiction but is vastly outnumbered when it comes to books to pick from.  I’m perhaps a little more conscious of this as my husband Mark is an avid non-fiction reader and has similar issues finding content to really connect with.  What I’m aiming for to start with is a broad spread of reading options and then I can add depth in specific areas later as needed.

Another important aspect of this is to encourage parents to get their kids reading widely in normally occurring situations such as reading menus, road signs, the news, etc.

Want to try: Book boxes

This is an idea I saw over on The Thinker Builder and I can’t wait to try it! Each child has a book box that they keep at their desk.  They are allowed to swap finished or unwanted books at designated times in the week and keep a supply of reading materials at their desk.  I like the idea of having set times to swap books without restricting kids to just one book.

Book Marks

One simple technique that has worked really well has been to have students create and use their own bookmarks.  You can make really simple ones just using strips of paper, or go for a more durable book mark by using card and laminating them.  This really simple little touch gives students a little more ownership of what they’re reading and also makes the whole reading experience more fun.

On a related note, I always have lots and lots of bookmarks available in class for students to use (maybe this year they can keep them in their book boxes?).  Post-it notes work brilliantly for this.

Reading games

I’ve written before about the importance of games in learning and how to include more games in lessons, and this is also true of reading.  Great games about creating stories, writing and reading secret messages and changing the endings of classic stories are all such wonderful ways to encourage readers.  By making the process more interactive you’re breaking down some of their preconceptions that reading is ‘boring’ (not all kids have this, but it is an important consideration for some).  If you’re in need of some inspiration for games to play have a quick read of my earlier post series Great Games for Literacy and Numeracy.

Want to try: Recommendation tags

This is another one I really can’t wait to try out; periodically have students write a short recommendation for a book on a post it note or a cute little tag and then pop them inside the book.  That way when students are browsing through the library they can see what other thought of the book and it might just inspire them to pick it up and give it a try!

Book talks

I’ve written about Book Talks before and how great they are for inspiring readers and involving parents.  Rather than repeat myself too much, here’s a quick link to my previous article.

In short though, hosting a class Book Talk does wonders for making books exciting! It also then draws on a whole host of other skills such as writing, presentation and speaking which are great to practice.  Bringing the parents in to watch adds to the feeling of creating a reading community which is just lovely for all involved!

How To: Get students to line up quickly and quietly

How to: Get students to line up quickly and quietly

Ever had one of those moments when you see another class lined up perfectly straight, quiet and attentive while yours run riot in the hallway? Truth is I think we all have, and its easy to want to scream and shout at them asking ‘Why can’t you be nice like that class?!’ however, don’t despair – it’s actually easier to fix than you might think.

You see the key to the lovely, quiet, orderly class is actually consistency – I know, I’ve mentioned that before…here.  But there is good reason for bringing it up again (and again).  It’s true.  So here’s my ‘How to’ guide for lining students up (of almost any age … you’re on your own with the under 3’s!).

Step One: Set Your Expectations

Decide exactly what your line should be like (this is really important because you want to avoid going back to change it later), ask yourself these questions:

  • Where will they be lining up?
  • In what order?
  • How do you want them behaved? (I go for silent, still and listening for the next instruction)

Step Two: Communicate Your Expectations

Sit the whole class down and tell them exactly what you expect, as much as possible, make sure everyone in the room understands every detail. If you have a teaching assistant make sure they are present for this conversation.

Step Three: How Will We Know We Have Succeeded? 

While everyone is sitting down and listening go over these few things:

  • Tell them you are going to silently use hand signals to communicate with them.
  • If it is going well you will give them a thumbs up when (and only when) you reach your intended destination
  • If anything at all, no matter how small, is wrong you will show them a clear sign for ‘stop’ and then ‘go back’ – if this happens everyone returns to the classroom (or wherever you started)
  • Make it very clear that this will happen every time until it is done right.

Step Four: Practice Time

Once you have explained everything carefully it is time to practice.  This is only going to work if you stick to the rules. This means that as your class begin to line up you must (silently, using hand signals) stop them and send them back for even the smallest error.  One kid whispers and we all go back.  One person if paying attention and we all go back. If someone talks before we’re lined up we all go back.  If they talk 2cm from the destination we all go back. This needs to happen every time it usually takes at least 10 attempts, my record so far is 23. Don’t speak, don’t react; just use the silent hand signals to return everyone to the classroom.

Step Five: Stick To It!

Now you’ve done it once do not deviate.  Every time you line up follow the same procedure and rules – it will get easier with practice.  This is where consistency is key – if you break the rules once you’re going to lose all that progress completely. The more you and your students practice the better it will get and the less involved you will need to be.

I’d recommend doing this as early in the year as possible (I do it in the first week) and leaving plenty of time to get it right.  It’s tough sometimes to justify spending 20 minutes practicing lining up, but look at it this way. If you can line your class up in 1 minute every time rather than 5 you’ll save 4 minutes a time.  Say you line up, conservatively, 5 times a day.  You’re saving 20 minutes a day, every day for the rest of the year.

How To: Incorporate More Games into Your Lessons

As teachers we all know the tremendous benefits of using games for learning; however it is so easy in the middle of a busy week, term or year to lose track of their importance and neglect to include as many as you would like to. In this post I’ll be discussing a few tips and ideas to build educational games into your lessons on a regular basis to maximise their impact.

Build up a good stock list of games

There’s nothing more discouraging for your students than seeing the same 3 games over and over again.  That’s not to say that repetition isn’t valuable – it absolutely is.  However variety is also really important and so having a great bank of games to draw upon (and circle back to when the time is right) through the whole year is crucial.  Check out Pinterest for an easy way to search for ideas, or even my earlier series on Great Games for Literacy and Numeracy.

Organise your games

Once you have a great set of games all prepared and ready to go make sure to keep them organised.  Critically, make sure its an organisation system that your students can use independently.  I’ve used some little stacks of tray, simple boxes, ziplock bags and more – you know your games and your students best so choose something that works with both.

Make games a regular session in your core lessons

The easiest way to build a good habit is to build it into your routine.  I specifically have a Maths games session twice a week in my maths class.  I also link some games to my Daily 5 sessions for ELA (e.g. Vocab Rock n Roll for Word Work). This also helps your students to understand and value the role of play in learning – at all ages!

Discuss the games with your class

Listen and respond to their feedback.  If they are telling you they love a game you can include it more, if they dislike it find out why.  It could be too easy, too hard, too short or too long, or maybe they’ve just not quite got the hang of it …or, without wanting to be too harsh, maybe its just not a good enough game.

Reflecting is incredibly important as a teacher and including your students in the process can increase its value even further – not least because they see you modelling this behaviour.

Get involved

Play the games with your class! I cannot stress this enough: it shows the students the high value of the games, it ensures they have understood how to play, its great for your relationship building with students, you can scaffold weaker students more easily, you can informally assess progress AND its fun! Need I say anymore? This doesn’t mean I play every round of every game with every group (I can’t be in that many places and they need to play without me for a whole host of developmental and educational reasons) but I make sure to play with each student (often in groups) at least once a week.  Sometimes that’s only for a short game, but that connection is still remarkable valuable.

If you follow these simple steps you’ll soon find that your class LOVES to play a whole range of games and that this ensures they get much more practice of some of those vital ideas and skills.

See you again soon!

Emma

Great Games for Literacy and Numeracy

Great Games Part Three: No resources needed

For the final part of this mini-series I’m going to look at a handful of games that hit a number of great criteria:

  • They help students to learn or practice something important
  • They are fun and engaging
  • They require nothing (or at least, very little!)

These games are great to have ready for those moments when a quick review is needed, or you want to take a quick break from a lesson without losing your class’ momentum.  There are so many others out there such as 20 questions, Pictionary, hangman, etc. but I’ve tried to include a few lesser known games that I actually play much more frequently than these.

Sparkle

This classic English game is great for practicing spelling and the random chance involves makes it great for whole class activities as well as small groups. Instructions:

  • Sit your students in a circle if possible as this makes keeping the order of the game easiest
  • Choose a word to spell that is right for your class/group, in this example I’ll use ‘hat’
  • The first child says ‘h’, the second says ‘a’, the third ‘t’
  • If a child says the wrong letter they are out
  • After the word is finished the next student shouts ‘sparkle’ and the person after them is out of the game!
  • You continue with a new word until eventually everyone is out and you have a winner.

Slap Count

This simple math game is great for practicing multiplication skills (count by 2’s, 5’s, etc.) but can be adapted for counting money amounts, fractions, decimals and more.

  • Sit students cross-legged in a circle with their hands on their knees, palms up.
  • Their hand should then rest on top of the hand of the person to their right, and under the hand of the person to their left.
  • After choosing a counting pattern, let’s say ‘plus 2’ one child begins with 0
  • As they say the number they (gently) slap the hand of the person to their left
  • The next child says the next number in the pattern e.g. ‘2’, then ‘4’, etc. and slaps the hand of the next child and so on

I set a target number to reach, and (once we’ve practiced a few times) a time to reach it in to make it even more exciting!

Math Ladder

This one does need paper and a pen (sorry!) but is great for practicing maths facts and easily adapted for vocabulary:

  • On a few pieces of paper write out some maths problems for your class (e.g. 3+7 or 4×5 etc.) and arrange them in a line to make a ladder.
  • Split your class into 2 teams and line them up at either end of the ladder
  • On ‘GO’ the first person from each team starts to head down the ladder answering each question as they go
  • When the members from both sides eventually meet in the middle the students battle using ‘rock, paper, scissors’
  • The winner continues down the ladder, the loser heads to the back of their teams line and a new team-mate begins at the start of the ladder
  • The team scores a point if they make it all the way to the end of the ladder

Mixed Up Stories

Another one requiring paper and pencils! Each student takes a piece of paper and writes 1 sentence to begin a story (its fun to set a theme) at the top of the page.  They fold the page so the sentence cannot be seen, and pass the paper on.  The next person adds their sentence without reading the previous one.  This continues until the teacher decides to stop really.  Then you open up the pages and read the stories – be prepared for a lot of laughter!

A to Z

This game is great for building vocabulary and general knowledge.  You simply set a topic and then go round the class taking turns to name something in the category that begins with that letter. For example if your category is animals you may have ‘alligator’ followed by ‘bear’ followed by ‘catfish’ and so on.

That’s it for this mini-series; I hope it has given you some ideas for your classes! If you haven’t already, then don’t forget to check out the earlier posts in this series by beginning at the introduction. Thanks as always for stopping by,

Emma

Summer Book Haul

Summer Book Haul!

New books!!!

Sorry, that’s really not how a blog post should start but I’m just so excited! Ahead of my move I decided to make the most of what is secretly one of my favourite things about India (sorry monuments, culture, history, food and people!) – books here are often really, really cheap! My son has benefited from this immensely: at 1 year old (his birthday was just last week) he has over 100 books. So with a new class library to set up in August I raided the bookstores, both physical and online, and I’m so thrilled with my haul.  I can’t wait to be able to set it all up and get another group of kids excited about their own reading adventures.

Here’s a sneak peak into what will be in my classroom library next year:

Summer Book Haul

I started off with some great picture books from Mo Willems and for the Elephant and Piggie books will definitely be borrowing an idea from a colleague of mine this year to have masks for the students to wear while they read together (thanks Nadia!).

IMG_4291

I continued the picture book collection with these great additions from Oliver Jeffers.  The Day the Crayons Quit is just adorable! Next I added a true classic:

Summer Book Haul

The next step up from these will be my beginning readers, of which I have a nice little selection:

Summer Book Haul Summer Book Haul

I then searched for a few beginner’s chapter books and decided to build couple of each series into my haul to encourage kids who like them to really explore the series, plus they’ll be easy to add to once the class get to know and love them:

Summer Book Haul Summer Book Haul Summer Book Haul Summer Book Haul IMG_4322

I only have one each of Nate the Great and Judy Moody pictured because shipping on others would have taken too long so I’ll be on the hunt for those in the UK/Malaysia! Luckily these are a little longer so are likely to be more popular toward the end of the year so I have some time! I got some of the Magic Tree House non-fiction fact checkers too as they are a great way to tempt kids who love fiction into the amazing world of non-fiction which I’m excited about.

Speaking of non-fiction I picked up a few great books in that category too – although not as many as I would like…but that gives me a great reason to go book shopping over the break!

Summer Book Haul Summer Book Haul

Finally I had a search for some titles to tempt boys, who sadly are more likely to be reluctant readers, and found some wonderful titles that I’m sure they (and the girls of course!) will really get into:

Summer Book Haul Summer Book Haul Summer Book Haul

The Shamimi Flint series was top of my list for this as it has convinced a couple of my boys this year to dive into reading with huge success! The Captain Awesome books are a nice blended of early readers and comics which I find go down a hit and finally the A to Z mystery series is a new one for me but they look wonderful and really engaging!

What’s even better is that this haul cost me less than £60! And as we all know the only things better than books are more books! (Okay, so maybe not the only thing…but still, they are pretty awesome).

Great Games for Literacy and Numeracy

Great Games Part Two: Created/Printed Games

Here goes with post two in this mini-series.  If you haven’t read part one yet I suggest you begin with the introduction here. In the first post I talked about some of my favourite games that have either been purchased and played as intended, or used other games re-purposed to fit a skill or concept to be reviewed. In this post I’ll be looking at games that are either printed or made using either regular classroom materials, or things that are simply to procure. as with the previous post there are games for literacy and numeracy in here and many can be adapted for a wide range of ages.

Great Games Part Two: Created/Printed Games

Strike It Out

My class love this game and its one we revisit regularly.  It’s great for their addition and subtraction skills and improves general number bond awareness too.

How it works:

In teams students have a number line showing 1-30.  The first student makes a simple number sentence within this range e.g. 1+9 = 10 as they do so they cross out the addends (in this case ‘1’ and ‘9’) and circle the sum (10). The second player must then start with the circled number as their first addend, e.g. 10+6 = 16.  Play continues until one player cannot make a new number sentence.

Shake It Up

I first saw this over at Sunny Days in Second Grade (click on the link in the game title to visit) a couple of years ago and have been using it ever since.  The original post uses small cards with synonyms placed inside a jar that is filled with either coloured rice, pom poms or something similar.  The student receives a sheet with corresponding synonyms on it and they have to shake the jar, find a word and record it next to its ‘partner’ on their answer sheet. I’ve since adapted it to use with sets of vocab and definitions, rhyming words, math puzzles and more!

Bottle Cap Toss

This is such a simple game, but a big hit.  We collected lots of bottle caps (we had around 100) and wrote a number sentence on the outside with a permanent marker and wrote the answers on the inside.  Students pick up a cap at random and try to answer the question; if they get it right they then attempt to toss the cap into a cup to score a point.  This can be played as individuals or as teams and you can make the questions as tough as you wish – simple!

Place Value Game

The place value game has helped so many of my students master place value to at least 6 digits.  Print off the grid found here and give one to each student, and one to the teacher.  Then you draw single digit cards (uno cards work well, but you could just make your own on paper) and have to place them on the grid one at a time. The aim is to build the biggest possible number …but without knowing what all the cards will be!

Scoring works as follows:

Less than the teacher = 0 points

Same as the teacher = 1 point

More than the teacher = 3 points

Highest number possible with the cards = Extra 3 points

Teacher beats everyone in the group = Teacher scores 10

Vocab Rock n Roll

This game does require dice but otherwise is pretty low on resources.  Download the Vocab Rock n Roll set up and student sheets.  Students fill in their target vocab words onto the grid (up to 10 words) and then roll their dice and complete the appropriate action e.g. 1 = Spell the word 2 = Make a sentence and so on.  Students work in pairs or small groups to complete their grids through the week.

Door Boggle

Laminated or die-cut letters + velcro = door boggle! Simply make a 3 x 3 grid on a wall or the back of a door and have students randomly stick letters into each space of the grid.  I provide a timer for the students to use and they race against each other to find all the words they can!

Great Games Part Two: Created/Printed Games

How tall is the Mountain?

How tall is the Mountain is a recent find for me, I picked it up over at Deceptively Educational.  Students begin by placing the digits 1-9 at the bottom of the mountain, they then climb up by adding pairs of numbers together.  The winner is the player with the biggest number at the top of the mountain.

That’s all for this post, I hope it has given you some great ideas and please check back soon for Part 3!

Emma