Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gaming 101: Board Games in the Classroom

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

In October, I was able to share thoughts of incorporating games into the classroom with fellow teachers at the Georgia Council of Social Studies.  The following are some thoughts about what I presented, as well as a Top Ten list of games I think would be great for classroom use.  In my seminar, I offered information on many more games, but the Top Ten can be considered a starter set for those who want to test the gaming waters first. 


Why Incorporate Board Games?
Well, teachers who incorporate board games into the classroom do more than teach a standard for one day. Teachers often incorporate simulations into their classroom. Unfortunately, a simulation is a one-time offing. A cooperative board game can be used not just to gain historical knowledge but also for the simple benefit of playing a game. For example, a student who enjoys playing a round of Carcassonne may be motivated to play the game again with their family. Wouldn’t it be nice to have students play games with their family for fun? These games are a gateway to allow students to get more history into their lives.

My Top Ten Games for the Classroom

1. Pandemic—2nd Edition, Z-Man Games. Great for Geography, AP Human Geography. Playing Time: 1-2 Class Periods

2 (Tie) Carcassonne, Z-Man Games. Geography, AP Human Geography, World History. Playing Time: 1-2 Class Periods

2. (Tie) New World: A Carcassonne Game, Z-Man Games. World History, US History. Playing Time: 1-2 Class Periods

4.      7 Wonders, Asmodee. World History, Government. Playing Time: 1 Period

5.      Ticket to Ride, Days of Wonder. Geography, AP Human Geography, World History, US History, Economics. Playing Time: 2-3- Class Periods

6.      Twilight Struggle, GMT Games. US History, Government. Playing Time: 1-2 Class Periods  

7.      Pillars of the Earth, Mayfair Games. World History. Playing Time: 2-3 Class Periods

8.      Alhambra, Rio Grande Games. World History, Economics. Playing Time: 2-3 Class Periods

9.      Archaeology, Z-Man Games. Geography, World History. Playing Time: 1 Class Period

10.  Catan Histories: Settlers of America, Mayfair Games. US History. Playing Time: 2-3 Class Periods


Honorable Mention:

Monopoly, Hasbro. US History, Government, Economics. Playing Time: 2-3 Periods


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Like – Comment – Post: Another Way to Use Images

by Nina Kendall
Here are a few ways to use images that promote interaction among students and allow the teacher to assess student understanding. These activities can be done throughout a unit on a classroom wall or an electronic wall. They can also be done as alternatives to simple quizzes or a ticket out the door.
Like an Image
·   Post an image or provide to students and assign them a perspective. Students then choose to like an image or not and explain their decision. A simple task that reveals their understanding.
Comment on an Image
·   Students will comment on an image as they might on Facebook. The student then chooses a perspective or historical figure and respond to this imagine in their voice.
o  What would they say about it on Facebook?
o  What would they think?
Post an Image
·   Ask students to choose a point of view. Offer them several images to select from.   Have students explain why someone with this perspective or a given historical figure would post this picture on his or her Facebook page.
Here are examples from an American Revolution Unit completed on a wall in the classroom.


Yes. Students also created their own profile pics to use with this activity. In class, I acted as the filter. Students were only given the chance to post their comments after I had reviewed them. 

There were several advantages to this activity. My students enjoyed the activity, but where also challenged by it. It required historical thinking.  It was also easy to grade.