Teaching and Reinforcing Skills Through Games

Do you have students that need extra practice and repetition in order to learn and generalize skills? Here are some great ways to build in extra opportunities to practice the skills in a fun and engaging way.

reinforcing skills- repetition- generalization -games

Just like my students, I get kind of tired of doing the same activities over and over. My students needs LOTS of repetition in order to master and retain a skill. They also need to practice the skills in a variety of ways with a variety of materials or they get stuck and are less flexible in their thinking. That is why games can really spice up your instruction and help students engage naturally. 

We put a different spin on musical chairs. We use letters instead to work on letter identification, letter sounds, beginning sounds, and using words in a sentence. 

Just like musical chairs, we put letter mats in a circle.
musical letters game- language game- letter identification

We practice walking in a circle, listening for the music cues, not pushing, etc. 

musical letter game- language game

After the music has stopped and students are on a letter, I choose a student. I ask the students to identify the letter s/he stopped on. We also ask a variety of questions: letter sound, word that starts it, make up a sentence, etc. 

After the student answers the questions, we work on following verbal directions. For example, we say, "Pick up the letter G and give it to Miss Renee (para)." Tell the student to put it in a specific spot to work on prepositions. For example, "Put the letter next to Ben's desk."

Another language game we play is BINGO.
language games- BINGO- winter

BINGO games are a HUGE hit in my classroom and very easy to make for a variety of skills and topics. This one is our Winter BINGO game. To build in a chance to work on requesting and color identification, I mount the BINGO boards onto different colored construction paper. Students begin the game by requesting the color board that they want. There are 2 different levels of questions cards. If you have students that are able to read, you can also practice reading peers to peers. 

winter language game- speech games

Students have to guess the picture the clue is referring to after hearing the clue in level 2. Here is an example of a level 2 clue:

In level 1, students are working on matching and labeling pictures. If you are able to have students play the game independently, then the pictures act as a self-correcting component.

Have you ever heard of the game Find the? This is a game that can be customized to any theme or skill!!! To play, take an item, picture or letter and hide it in the classroom.

Students then take turns finding the item, letter or picture that was hidden. After the student has found it, he has to tell where he found it. This is where we work on prepositions. For example.... student might say, "It was on the chair at the math table." Other students might work on filling in the last word. For example, I would say, "It was on the..." and he fills in the word chair. 

Practice prepositions

Another variation of this game is to have one student hide the item and then have to give verbal directions to a peer about where to find it. We also use this game for practicing upper and lower letter identification. For this game, we hide both upper and lower case versions of the same letter around the room. Then we give directions to the student about which version to find. You could also teach students to use the clues "hot and cold." So many options!!

Do you have a favorite game to teach skills? Please share with everyone in the comments!

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