Thursday, May 1, 2014

Learning Through Games: Word on the Street Junior

Summary: Word on the Street Junior is a spelling tug-of-war where players pull on each letter as it is used in a word.

Number of Players: 2 or more in two teams

Recommended Age: 8+

Skills Addressed:
  • Vocabulary 
  • Spelling 
  • Cooperation 
  • Subject knowledge 
  • Categorization
Link to Learning:
  • Have students focus on agreeing on their word choice. 
  • Talk about strategy for choosing each word, or which letters to to focus on.
  • Pair stronger spellers with weaker ones. 
  • Have students locate each letter, focus on alphabetization. 
  • Play a large game on the board with the whole class divided into two teams. 
  • Make categories to fit recent lessons.

Learning Through Games: Tell Tale and Rory's Story Cubes

Summary: These two games challenge players to create a story using a limited set of picture prompts.

Number of Players: 1 or more
Rory's Story Cubes Picture

Recommended Age: 5+ for Tell Tale, 8+ for Rory's Story Cubes

Skills Addressed:
  • Sequence of events
  • Storytelling
  • Listening
  • Memory

Link to Learning:
  • Ask questions (e.g. "Does that connect to the rest of the story?" "How can we solve the story's problem?").
  • Tell the story without saying "and then."
  • Try giving students time to plan their part of the story, then challenge them to tell a story without time to prepare.
  • Focus on parts of speech, setting, exposition, or other parts of a narrative.
  • Have children act out their story.
  • Use pictures from a book the class has read.
  • Use photos from a field trip.
Tell Tale Picture

Learning Through Games: Pairs in Pears

Summary: A simplified version of Bananagrams, Pairs in Pears also has patterning on the letter tiles that creates even more ways to play this crossword tile game.

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Recommended Age: 6+

Skills Addressed:
  • Spelling
  • Pattern recognition
  • Strategy
  • Vocabulary

Link to Learning:
  • Ask students to use each of their words in a sentence (bonus if they can put both in the same sentence).
  • Have students sort the tiles by pattern, put them in alphabetical order, or separate vowels from consonants.
  • Let students check each other's work.
  • Ask students to spell their name.
  • Try spelling pairs with five or more letters each instead of three or four.

Learning Through Games: Zingo and Zingo Sight Words

Zingo PictureSummary: The Zingo family of games work like bingo and each teaches different basic skills. These two focus on reading simple words.

Number of Players: 2 to 6

Recommended Age: 4+

Skills Addressed:
  • Early reading/phonics
  • Sounding out words
  • Spelling

Link to Learning:
  • Have students name the pictures/read the sight words before beginning the game.
  • Ask students to sound out words they don't recognize.
  • Tell students to identify all of their words beginning with a given letter.
  • Try turn-based play before advancing to a speed game.
  • Create a classroom version of the game with class words.



Learning Through Games: Lickety Quick

Summary: Lickety Quick is a speedy word game where players think up answers that fit the given starting sound and part of speech or syllable number.
Lickety Quick Picture

Number of Players: 2 or more

Recommended Age: 8+

Skills Addressed:
  • Spelling
  • Parts of speech
  • Counting syllables
  • Quick thinking

Link to Learning:
  • Ask students to find more than one answer to each card set.
  • Challenge students to see who can write down the most answers in each set, check spelling.
  • Create your own set with new categories, e.g. “with 7 letters.”
  • Using only the category cards, answer only with words from the class list.
  • For a foreign language class, answer in that language.


Learning Through Games: Swish

Summary: Swish is a fast-paced pattern finding game where players flip and rotate transparent cards until the shapes overlap.

Swish GameNumber of Players: 1 or more

Recommended Age: 8+

Skills Addressed:
  • Quick thinking
  • Pattern recognition
  • Spatial awareness
  • Logic

Link to Learning:
  • To track progress in a solitaire game, play timed rounds and keep track of the student's score over time.
  • Ask students to think of a strategy that will help them find a correct group, then explain their method to others.
  • If some players are more advanced, modify the game by limiting the experienced players to collecting groups of at least three cards.

Learning Through Games: Secret Code 13+4

Summary: In Secret Code 13+4, players roll dice and use arithmetic to disarm a museum's security and steal the mask of Amun Re.

Secret Code PictureNumber of Players: 2 to 4

Recommended Age: 8+

Skills Addressed:

  • Addition and subtraction
  • Multiplication and division
  • Strategy

Link to Learning:

  • With younger students, use only addition and subtraction. Multiplication and division make the game go faster, but are not necessary.
  • Experiment with the rules. Have students think of one rule change and predict how it will change the game. Then play with that change and compare the results to their predictions.

Learning Through Games: Set

Summary: Set is a fast-paced pattern finding card game where players have to pay attention to color, number, shape, and shading.

Number of Players: 1 or more

Set PictureRecommended Age: 6+

Skills Addressed:
  • Quick thinking
  • Pattern recognition
  • Logic

Link to Learning:
  • Ask students to think of a strategy that will help them find a set, then explain their method to the group.
  • Have students explain why any group they pick up is or is not a set.
  • To track progress in a solitaire game, play timed rounds and keep track of the student's score over time.