Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Games for fluency, understanding and material assimilation

Children enjoy playing. The benefits of entering into a game status is that it encourages motivation and learning through practice, while having fun. Game time enables many learning opportunities, and with a supporting, encouraging and challenging environment a child's self esteem and number of success' can only rise.

Games can be part of the instilling phase, or as various stages of practice; Tamar Talshir (an Israeli researcher) talks about "layers" - every layer is supported above the previous one, and the learning is being made through contexts.

Many researches have shown that the connection between learning and movement is essential in:
  1. The connection between movement and motion- moving an object with the hand for toddlers, throwing a ball to a friend etc.
  2. Critical for first grade skills- motor skills, eye-hand connection, shoulder belt, coordination, social skills etc.
  3. Developing various skills through games - how to listen, to scan, to follow somebody/ something, etc.
  4. The ability to assimilate material/ information is connected to the response speed.
  5. Some researches have shown that better implementation of learned material was achieved while moving (we'll write on it, with references, soon).
The advantage of using games in class are huge and include many areas- motivation, instilling and practice, self confidence, experiencing and experimenting, social benefits etc.

The five games suggested in this post use play time for working on understanding, listening, practice, memorization, fast responding and thinking/ calculating.

1. complete and opposite actions- multiplication and division
I throw a ball to a student and say a multiplication / division exercise.
the student needs to throw the ball back with the opposite exercise.
for example: 3 multiple 40 = 120
The student will say: 120 divided to 3 is 40, or to 40 is 3.

The game works both on listening, understanding the essence of multiplication and division and performance.

If someone failed he/she can get a second/ third chance.
2. Division of quantity/ shapes/ other
I work with my entire class (34 pupils) or with groups.
I ask them to split into equal numbered groups/ unequal groups that can be divided by 3,4,5,7 etc.
I may ask a group to create shapes, math exercise and more.
* you can play it on chemistry connections, cells and more.

In this game you can see who helps to organize, who understands, creativity and planning ahead.
3. Passing ball to series-
passing a ball between the pupils and calling a series- up or down, in different differences- 3,6,9,12....


you can play with it in building sentences- every pupil says a word and passes the ball to the next pupil to continue. It can constitute of great leaders names, historical political agreements, family words etc.
4. You attach a number to each pupil:
a. the pupils run and then you call out "39+11". Those who bear the correct number which is the the result of this calculation must stop running.

b. the pupil can't see the numbers attached to him/her.. The other group members (up to five) will need to give him/her clues and if needed an exercise.
5. Draw circles with numbers/ elements on the floor and let the pupils run.
When you announce a number/ shape/ element they need to stand in it. The one who that can't find it within a specific time limit (few seconds) is out of the game. (kind of like playing "musical chairs").

the focus is on scanning, fast response and execution.

Good luck and enjoy

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