Welcome to my games and learning blog
I’ve spent 25 years in the classroom working games and game mechanics into my lessons. As a result, my students do better on assessments and are much more actively engaged in learning. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reaching best practices and generally trying to determine how and why games and game design positively affect student performance. Many of my acquired resources and rationale in support can be found here.
I’m fortunate to teach a board game design class in addition to my history sections. My students struggle with literacy skills, so much of what I do targets not only content delivery through games, but also language functions, the 4Cs, and creating opportunities for social and emotional learning. I’ve also designed that class to support computational thinking through game design. We begin by deconstructing board games to determine favorite properties and mechanics before proceeding on to the design and development stages.
On this blog you’ll discover games that are “student tested” for popularity and playability.
I play together with students and, as they deconstruct, I record what aspects of the game they like. I use this data when I design lessons for my history class. For example, students might tell me that they like acquiring and exchanging cards during gameplay. I will take that mechanic and use it in a lesson to teach trade across culture groups.
Some games are so popular with students that I have “modded” them to create a version that includes history content and objectives which we can then play in class. Through this blog I plan to share the board, card, and dice games that work best and provide enough details so that you can see how they might be modified for use with your students.
For each game I include:
The original game objective
Links to “how-to-play” videos
Modifications that can be made to address multiple content areas and grade levels
Language functions addressed through game play
How the game can support the 4Cs and social and emotional learning.
Feel free to explore and leave comments as to how you might mod the game further to address the needs of your students. These games are widely available and I encourage you to find a local group of board gamers in your community and play test to better understand the mechanics and dynamics. Many cities have well stocked gaming cafes where you can try out these games before considering a purchase.