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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Games in Middle School?

Games in Middle School?

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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Hello! I am interviewing on Wednesday for a Spanish teaching position at a middle school. A lot of resource books that I have found describe fun games and activities to teach a foreign language; however, the classes that I have observed were very teacher-directed, lecture-based classrooms. The students did not seem very inclined to participate in any discussions, let alone games. Second-graders (my current grade level) are always up for games and fun activities to enhance learning, so my question to you veteran middle school teachers is this - do your students, in 6th through 8th grade, enjoy games? How do you approach getting them up and involved instead of just sitting there? What if certain students do the whole eyeball-rolling, I'm too cool for this routine? Please help - I am very excited about this opportunity but not sure how to get my students motivated, engaged, and excited about learning Spanish.

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Tom Bronson's picture
Tom Bronson
Middle School Math (including Alg I, Geo, and Alg II) from Tampa, FL

I do a ton of Kagan Cooperative Learning structures in my classroom. Many of the structures are more like games than instruction.

One of my favorites is a structure called Snowball. I play it with equivalent fractions and graphs and other items that could be "matched". You could do it with vocab, for one. I can't go into great detail because KCL is a business. Basically, they have a snowball fight with balled up paper. Ealch "snowball" has a match somewhere in the room. When you say "stop" each student has to find a snowball, open it, and find their match.

So, in my long winded way, I'm basically saying, "yes". They like playing games. Even when they grumble, they enjoy it. They just can't look like they're enjoying it. :)

Julie Reeher's picture
Julie Reeher
Middle School Computer Lab teacher from Cortland, Ohio.

I've taught 4th-8th grade students and games are enjoyed at all levels. It's a great way to motivate students and reinforce concepts taught in class.

Remember, you set the atmosphere in your classroom. If you set the tone, students will follow your lead. You like playing games; the class will enjoy them too!

Jean's picture

I find that it depends on the class. When you have students who don't like the idea of learning a foreign language, they can't handle it. Does anyone have foreign-language activities that work well with almost any kind of class? Thanks.

Adrienne's picture
Adrienne
Middle School Social Studies Teacher

I have taught 6th grade for three years and they are very enthusiastic about games!
I do a lot of simulations, prior knowledge activities, and review jeopardy games. I don't do them all of the time...maybe once every couple of weeks. They really get the students motivated to learn and I have even heard some kids complaining when the class is over on these "game" days!

Katie Bess's picture

I strongly believe that games can be played at any grade level. When I was a Junior in high school in a Spanish 3 class we played many games to help us with hard vocabulary or conjugating difficult verbs. It is all up to the teacher on setting the atmosphere of the classroom. If on the first day of class you come in telling the students it will be a fun semester, they will be looking forward to it. Games really do motivate students, especially if prizes are given. I think games are a great way to review and practice new concepts.

Garrison Daily's picture
Garrison Daily
Middle School Technology Teacher

Even my 8th graders LOVE to play games. We even play pretend in the computer lab, with make-believe budgets and life scenarios. Absolutely nobody complains. They're being pushed to be serious by tv, society, and school. It's a relief to them to revert back a bit.

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