In these days of remote learning, it can be challenging to motivate students and help them stay on top of the executive function demands of learning. Games can be invaluable for engaging students’ attention and fostering positive relations in the virtual elementary classroom.
Which games are the most fun and effective over services like Zoom? Edutopia has a terrific list of 13 Virtual Games to Play in Your Elementary Classroom. Here are a few of our favorites:
Connect Four, Trouble, Chess & Checkers
Liz Henneberry, a third-grade teacher in Franklin, Massachusetts, transformed Connect Four, Trouble, Chess, and Checkers to Google Slides…Students click a board game shelved in a virtual recess room, which creates their own copy of the game. Students can then share the game with their friend using Google Drive so that the two can play a round together.
Robin Nahhas says her third-grade students have loved playing Multiplication Tic-Tac-Toe, a downloadable game she created on Google Slides so that they could practice their multiplication facts…She pairs up students and places them in breakout rooms on Zoom. Each student in the pair selects a set of color pieces, and when it’s their turn, they roll two digital dice, multiply the numbers shown, and place a piece onto the virtual board with the corresponding number…If students need help solving a problem, they can rely on their partner or click the “Ask for Help” button after trying one of the strategies they learned in class with pencil and paper first.
During morning meetings, fifth-grade teacher Sarah Wood says she incorporates games like scavenger hunts that the whole class can play together while learning from home. When it’s time to play, Wood projects a word like blanket and a matching image on a slideshow, and then students run to find the item in their homes. When they find the object, they can share it on video or by typing in the chat box.
Teachers can use Blackboard Collaborate, Whiteboard.fi, or the Whiteboard within Zoom for Pictionary. Students take turns drawing on a whiteboard—prompted by a word generator—while students call out their guesses.
What do you think of these games? Do you have any other virtual games that work well with elementary students? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.
- Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager
SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org
Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org
The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org