Sometimes it is hard to remember how important games can be to learning. It is SO easy to say that we just don’t have times for games because we have so much material to get through. But I am reminded that just because something comes out of my mouth, doesn’t mean it goes into their brains!
Research studies have shown that activities which involve social interaction and body movement improve memory and learning. Games involve both interaction (sadly, only with me!) and bodily movement. It is a great way for students to construct their own learning, moving information from short-term memory to long-term memory.
There has also been a lot of research on the effect of emotion on learning. Strong emotions tend to effect memory in both positive and negative ways. (You remember that day you had the car accident as well as the day you first saw Paris!) I sometimes wonder if the enjoyment of playing a game will create a more permanent memory. I hope so.
Of course, I have to assure that the games I use are closely aligned with our learning objectives. They are fun, but, well, not TOO fun. Students are working hard while they play.
That is why I have invested time and money to make sure that there are plenty of appropriate games to play. Some I have purchased, others I have created. Many of these games can be played in more than one way, spelling or reading words, or applying or recognizing spelling rules. I also have made some games with phrases and sentences so that we fluency is part of the play, too. Hopefully, I can assure that students have fun while learning at DYScover Learning!