By Teachers, For Teachers
Teachers know that one of the things their students dislike the most is studying. However, if you turn studying into fun classroom activities, then maybe your students won’t mind so much. Math and spelling are two of the subjects that many students find to be the most boring when it comes to studying. Much of mathematics involves practicing skills that were already introduced, and memorizing spelling words can be even more boring, especially because more times than not the students tend to forget how to spell the words soon after the test is over. The most effective way to reinforce concepts learned is to create fun classroom activities or games. Here are a few teacher-tested favorites to try with your elementary school students.
Here are three math games to help students retain their math skills.
This fun and interactive mathematics game is a great mental math game for grade 2-8. To play, you must first divide students into teams of two. Then ask the teams to come up with a team a name. While students are brainstorming a name, draw a baseball diamond on the front board. Make sure you have a list of math problems at your disposal, because you’ll need them for this game. To begin the game, call up the team captain of each team, and toss a coin to see who is up to bat first. The pitching team then pitches their math problem to the batting team. It’s best to let students take turns pitching. The student that is up to bat has to answer the question. If they are correct, that student gets to place a check on the first base. If they are incorrect then that student is out. Each team gets three outs. When the team has three outs the other team is up to bat. This continues until a team wins.
This math game is designed for children learning money combinations. To begin this classroom activity, you must first divide students into small groups. Make sure to provide each group with one die, 10 dimes, 6 nickels, and 15 pennies. One student from the group rolls the die first, depending on what they roll (1-6) that student must take that many coins. If the student rolls a three, they can take three pennies. But, if a student rolls a five, they can take three pennies or exchange them for a nickel. The next player would roll and take the allotted coins. If that player has two nickels, they would have to exchange them for one dime, or if they have 10 pennies they would exchange them for one dime. The group continues to play and exchange their money until all of the dimes are gone. The person who has the highest amount of money wins the game.
This is a math game for students in grade K-5 who are having a hard time learning subtraction. It’s called 200, 500, or 1000 because that’s the number you’ll begin with depending on how well your students are at subtracting. If they are struggling, start with 200 and you can increase the number as they get better.
To begin the game you must pair two students together and give each pair two dice, pencil, and paper. Each player writes the number 500 on their paper. Then the first player rolls both die and subtracts the number that they rolled from the number you started with. For example, if player one rolled a 2 and a 3, that would make 23. They then subtract 23 from whatever your number is 200, 500, or 1000. Then player two rolls and does the same thing. This continues until a player reaches zero and wins the game.
Here are three fun classroom spelling games to incorporate into your weekly spelling lessons.
Word jump is a physical classroom spelling game to help students remember their spelling words. To begin this game the teacher writes a few spelling words on a piece of paper and places them on the floor about 5 words to start). The goal is to have students see how many words they can jump on correctly when the teacher says the word. For example, the teacher would say the word “Animal” and students would look on the ground and have to be the first to jump on the word “Animal.” As the students get better, you can increase the number of spelling words on the ground.
Word relay is a fun and competitive spelling game that students will enjoy playing. To start, divide students into teams or two. Have each team stand in a relay line one behind the other. When the teacher says go, the first team members of each team race to the board and have to write a spelling word that begins with the last letter of the word that was written on the board. For example, the teacher would draw a line down the center of the board and on each side would write one word. For this example the word is “Doctor.” The team member that is at the board would have to write a spelling word that starts with an “R,” such as rock. If they do not have a spelling word that starts with an “R,” then they move to the letter before, which in this example would be “O.” Once the team member writes the word they quickly pass the chalk to the next person on the team, until all of the members of the team have gone. The first team to finish wins the game.
This is a Tic Tac Toe spelling game to help reinforce spelling words. To start, divide students into teams of two. Each team gets a pile of their spelling words, along with a tic tac toe board. The first player draws a card from the deck and reads the word to their partner. The partner then spells the word. If they get it correct they draw an “X” or an “O” on the tic tac toe board. If they get it wrong, then they cannot place anything on the board. This continues until someone gets tic tac toe and wins the game.
These math and spelling classroom activities are an effective way to reinforce and sharpen your students’ skills in these subjects. Try and incorporate as many of these games as you can each week to help improve and prefect your students’ skills.
What are your favorite classroom activities and games for math and spelling? Please share with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.