HOW GAMES TEACH KIDS TO LISTEN
Teaching games are terrific tools to teach kids to listen, and to help them easily learn hard facts.
If played correctly, #teachinggames will teach children to listen. One game requires nothing more than a wadded up piece of paper and a wastebasket.
To teach kids to listen, all you need is a box to hold the questions, with each question written on its own little piece of paper.
This first blog is all about how to play any game, so that kids learn to listen. Listening is a skill that can be learned. Many kids have lost their listening habit, tuning out the teacher. Games reverse that quickly.
In subsequent blogs, I will teach you the games, and how to play each one of them. But no game will work for you unless you use a Question Box and use it correctly. (These games were first developed for Bible classes, then adapted for home school and other classes.)
Many of these games can be played with one student, up to a classroom full. That is why this method of playing games works so well for home school families.
What is a Question Box?
I call a little box a question box.
1) It holds the questions
2) It is a box.
Usually I use a shoe box, or a small bowl, or an empty tissue box.Best are the boxes checks come in, as they are all the same size and can be easily stored.
I've had teachers tell me that my games don't work. I ask them if they used the question box, and the answer is always, "No, it didn't seem important." So I encouraged them to do the games with a question box, and then tell me how it went. BIG difference!
How Do I Run a Game with Different Ages and Subjects?
This feature is really important to the home school parent when you want to do review games and drills. The secret lies in using a different box for each subject and for each student. Using separate boxes, I can ask a six year old a math question from her box, and the fifth grader a social studies question from his box—and they can play the game together, even though doing different subjects.
When Do I Write Down My Questions? Why so Soon?
Have all your questions written down beforehand. It kills a game to have to wait for the teacher to try to think up a question. Questions thought up at the last minute usually aren't very hard questions. Also, if the questions aren't in the box, but read off a sheet of paper, the children won't learn as effectively.
The best time to write your questions is before you start putting your lesson together. As you write down the questions about your subject, you will often find some things that you want answered, that you hadn't considered teaching. You may find yourself adding material. The process of thinking up questions focuses your mind on what is really important.
Well thought out questions require a student to think before answering. Write down questions as you develop your material, as you write your lesson plan, and as you teach the class (which can be used in a review game later.)
Put all types of questions in your question box. Some questions are simple yes - no questions, for others a single answer is required. The hardest questions are the Why? and How? type of questions. Children are capable of learning far above their grade level, if challenged.
Write the answers just below the questions, so whoever is playing the game has the answer as he asks the question, and the one answering can't see the answer.
So why use a question box? How does it teach children to listen?
It is all in how you use it. Because the questions are cut apart, the children feel that you aren't selecting hard or easy questions, thus slanting the game, or playing favorites. (You can do this if you need to, by simply asking a question that isn't on the paper.)
Always ask the questions in the following manner:
1. Pull a question from the box. Just the fact that you are pulling out a slip of paper lends excitement to the game. It is the excitement of the unknown. They don't know what you are going to ask. (Neither do you.)
2. Read the question aloud. Give the kids time to think by moving your finger back and forth, around the room. (Do not go in any pattern. A pattern tells kids when they don't have to listen to the question.)
3. Stop and point to a child. "Sam?" If he/she gives the correct answer, award the child his point in the game. Be enthusiastic!
THEN, DROP THE QUESTION BACK INTO THE BOX
When they see the questions going back into the box, they know that they might get asked the same question, therefore, they are highly motivated to listen to both the question and the answer, so that they can get points in the game.
If the next child happens to get the same question, ask it again. Don't set it aside. When answered, put it back into the box.
IMPORTANT: The way you teach children to listen is by putting that question back into the box.
You might pull it out again and ask the next student the same identical question. If he wasn't paying attention to the answer, he won't know it, and will lose a point on the game.
Many teachers want to lay the question aside after they have asked it once. This immediately alerts the kids that they no longer have to listen to the answers you or the other players give, as that question won't be asked again.
It is more important to teach them to listen than to get through all the questions.
4. If he/she gives the wrong answer, say "Good try. The answer is.... and give them the correct answer immediately. Then put the question paper back into the box. You are trying to teach them, and you want them all to hear the correct answer. You do not want to go around the classroom and keep getting wrong answers, for those are the ones they remember.
Example: I once taught a class which paid no attention at all. So I asked a question impossible for them to know, and gave the answer to the first child. (This wasn't in a game situation.) I broke my rule about a pattern, and went up and down the rows, asking the same question and giving the answer to the first few, getting puzzled looks as they started repeating the answer.
So what happened?
When I got to the worst dreamer, he wanted to know why I expected him to know the answer. The class emphatically told him why he should know.
This is a little embarrassing to the non-listener, so be careful when you use it. I had no more problems with that group not listening, especially when they knew that the questions for the game would depend upon what we covered in class.
Games aren't just for fun. They are one of the best teaching tools out there, as they provide motivation, discipline, repetition, and reward.
The motivation is getting the point, moving ahead, or the reward of winning the game. Discipline is handled by taking away points or having to skip a turn. Repetition happens when those questions are dropped back into the box and asked again. Kids can learn a terrific amount of material using games.
All the games and instructions are in the ebook, First Aid for Bible Classes, sold on the www.showandtellbible.com website.
If you wish a print copy of this 125 page book, it is available from Amazon. I demonstrate many of the games on video in the "Raising Giants" home school program at raising-giants.mykajabi.com
Here are the contents, listed on the back: