“The score never interested me, only the game,” Mae West
A few weeks ago, I wrote about why games boost students’ learning. They soothe anxiety and calm the amygdala, making student brains receptive to learning. They make drill fun. They give students a way to beat the teacher. In short, they are a great tool, especially for drill or practice.
Games can be a quick five-minute review to start a lesson or to wrap up one, or they can be the core of practice in a lesson. When I work one-on-one with students, I usually play a game for at least ten or twenty minutes of a fifty-minute session. With that much time, you need to make sure the game is serving its purpose well and efficiently.
“Games give you a chance to excel, and if you’re playing in good company you don’t even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.”
― Gary Gygax
Sometimes I feel really sorry for my students. These poor kiddos are struggling in school, or their parents wouldn’t bring them to me. Whether they have a learning disability or ADHD or an Autism Spectrum Disorder, they come home from school intellectually and emotionally spent. Whew! Survived another day. Then their parent tells them to get in the car so they can go…back to learn all the stuff that is so hard for them during the day. Uh…what? No wonder some of them come in glassy-eyed, or at the least anxiously looking around to assess how school-like my office seems.