My students need board games that promote critical thinking in the areas of strategy, linguistics, and mathematics.
Margaret Mead once said "Children must be taught how to think, not what to think." In the age of constructivist education models, this couldn't be more true. Help my students become critical thinkers through game playing.
I teach at a Title I school with a very high population of non-native English speakers, students coming from single-parent families, and those participating in the free/reduced rate lunch program.
However, our school has achieved an "A" rating (through our very high Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores) for the past 12 years! My students have many obstacles to overcome but they work hard and they succeed. This year, I have the pleasure of teaching a gifted and high achieving class. These very special students require an elevated level of rigor that will keep them motivated, engaged, and challenged. It is my goal to provide my amazing students with everything they need to not just be successful, but to be their personal best, as well as provide them with the tools and experiences they need to someday compete in a global market.
Game playing is so much more than an entertaining way to pass time. Tons of critical thought and strategy goes into being a master game player. Giving students the opportunity to engage in such strategy and thought, outside of typical educational activities, mimics real-world problem solving situations. Games such as Checkers, Chess, and Mancala force students to be forward and anticipatory thinkers. Scrabble and Apples to Apples not only can be used as part of a language arts curriculum in teaching spelling and parts of speech, but also take strategy and interpersonal understanding. Clue, the "who did it" game, gives practice in deductive reasoning, while Rush Hour, Battleship, and Connect Four require attention to spatial sense and strategy. Monopoly gives exposure to and practice with risk versus reward situations.
Game playing is a valuable educational tool in so many different ways.
Not only does it give students practice with critical thinking skills, but it gives them an opportunity to work on good sportsmanship, communication skills, and of course, makes the classroom a fun and exciting place to be!
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