Secondary Smorgasbord: Games to Keep Them Engaged at Year's End

Teaching new content at the end of the year is most often out of the question with crazy schedules and early dismissed groups as events and other obligations draw our students in every direction.  Still, we know we must wrap-up our content with students to help bring lessons together and to help them review for coming final exams or course tests.  How can we keep it together as everything seems to be falling apart in the final days of the year?

Keeping students engaged can be the greatest challenge for any teacher.  While some teachers choose to give up and offer free time to their students those final days, I could never give up that time, or my sanity to the chaos, and instead set up organized game play for my students each and every school day right up to our final exams.

Here are a few of my Game Strategies for the Secondary classroom:
  • Use Practice Games -  design games to address specific content, skills or standards and course curriculum.  Create your own questions and create competition among your students to keep them engaged and participating.  Offer incentives to highest scoring groups.
  • Allow Students to Create Games - divide your class by the number of units covered in the course and assign one unit to each group for game creation.  Allow students to use existing game resources (game pieces, etc) or encourage them to create every aspect of the game for every greater involvement.  Use the final days for groups to exchange game boards and to compete for course prizes.
  • Play on a Human Game Board - One of my favorites!  Turn your classroom into a human game board using the tiles on your floor as spaces.  Roll the dice or award points based on question values and review the course content from beginning to end. 
No matter how you choose to spend your final days in the classroom, just remember that your sanity, and the success of your students, will be best maintained if you keep order and structure to the very end.  That said, maintain that order and structure while you have fun in the last days!  Your students will remember your content, and they will remember you for being the cool teacher you are!

Be sure to check out the other posts in the Secondary Smorgasbord for great ideas to help you get through the end of the school year!  And, thanks to Meatballs in the Middle and Desktop Learning Adventures for hosting these wonderful blog posts!

Happy Teaching!
Michele Luck

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