I do not think that games waste time. A game is just an activity that reinforces a concept. Games are fun, so children are more likely to remember what they learn. Games also add variety to the classroom, and give students ways to interact in a positive way. This is especially true in ESL classrooms, where it is more important than ever for children to be talking to each other.
Education can be fun and educating. Spelling and vocabulary for instance. I try to make time sometime during the week for my kids to play spelling games. It might be Scrabble, it might be an online game like Bookworm, but we spell and we talk about word meanings. We talk about affixes and we look for ways to use those to extend words. Sometimes I learn new words too. The thing is everyone gets involved. Students who at other times are uninterested are even involved.
On my website. www.herappleness.com, I posted a very popular article on RPGs (Role Playing Game) and how they help to integrate language arts, and ESL. I tested them all, and each one was more addictive than the other.
The thing is, in answer to #2, you can MAKE your class A game, and the entire lesson can be a game as long as you establish the objectives, explain the assessment, and engage the students in reaching the goal of the lesson.
That's why I think teaching is the best profession in the world! We CHOOSE how to conduct our business, and we make it as fun, as tedious, as hard or as easy as we want...the best part, whatever, continues to be: Summer Break!
Oh, I'm a HUGE fan of games!!! I LOVE them, and the students do as well! I remember the first few years I taught, I tried having some type of game every Friday. Yeah, that was too much. As I gained more maturity, I realized that games were extra good for review before a test, . . . and also to teach SAT vocabulary (that I hated teaching anyway). Now we play a game the day before each test. Fun, fun, fun! : )
Keep it up!
I haven't actually tried this yet, but have any of you heard of the game Apples to Apples? It is a card game in which one card gives a list of adjectives. Each player has seven of their own cards, and from this pile, they try to pick the most accurate representation for this adjective. The adjectives range from basic (Difficult) to more advanced (Nostalgic, Abstract, etc.)
Here is how a typical hand might look:
The adjective card - Bizarre (then it would list several synonyms just in case Bizarre wasn't clear enough)
Your answers could include Butternut Squash, Vietnam, Circus, Michael Jackson, etc. and it is up to the person who deals the card (the dealer changes after each hands) to determine what is the most bizarre (Michael Jackson) and what is the least bizarre, and all others in between.
I am thinking of using this with my remedial students to prepare them for the vocabulary the state test uses to describe tone. I will let y'all know how it goes.
In response to post #2, it really depends on the school in which you're teaching. Some schools, especially those with poor school ratings, are under the gun, so to speak, and are targeted by their districts. Being under such constant scrutiny, it is difficult to incorporate any sort of game or refreshing movie to help the kids with a bit of beneficial yet educational downtime.
I'm a fan of games, but unfortunately, I've found that students oftentimes see them as a free day type activity, don't take it seriously, and therefore do not gain the minimal benefit that the games can provide.
That being said, your games look fun, worthwhile, and can still allow teachers to provide a learning opportunity for their students while maintaining a relaxed environment.
These games are targeted toward ESL learners, but I think they could be used in different ways for native speakers as well. It would be fun to use this as an icebreaker or for the last few minutes of class to liven things up a bit. Good work, Dodix!
Sometime, I thing that games are wasting time. We often need extra times to play games in routine teaching. But, our students need refreshment, do they?