With the increasing depth and breadth of state standards, teachers have to take advantage of every spare instructional minute. This means we often find ourselves teaching to a room of students with their eyes glazed over with boredom and BURN-OUT. Other times, especially after testing season or nearing the end of a semester, we might find ourselves confronted with a class full of wired and fidgety learners.
No matter what kind of mood our pupils are in, we’ve got to be willing to pull out all the stops to get them mentally present in the classroom. What better way to get kids excited about learning than with a fun game to play?
No matter what kind of mood our pupils are in, we’ve got to be willing to pull out all the stops to get them mentally present in the classroom.
Let’s start with a crowd pleaser! Similar to Hasbro® Candyland™, this one is sure to be a student favorite. With Phonics Land, students practice a variety of decoding skills while making their way from Blending Bay, past fun spots like the Vowel Volcano and Syllables Summit, all the way to Long o Lake.
To play, break students into groups of three to five students and give each group two dice, a game board, and an instruction sheet. Students take turns rolling the dice and moving that number of spaces on the game board. Wherever students land, they must read the word out loud within a minute. If students correctly decode the word, they get to stay on the new space. If they can’t, they must retreat back to the space they came from.
As a bonus, if students correctly identify one of the “pseudo” (or nonsense) words, they get to move forward two extra spaces!
Download the Phonics Land Game Boards for your elementary students now!
Perfect for younger kids (or kids who are young at heart), this second game will get your students practicing their short vowel decoding skills!
To play the Short Vowel Roll & Write Game, break students up into pairs and give them a game board, a die, and a vowel/dice key card. As you form pairs, assign one student to be Player A and the other to be Player B. With this game, each player will alternate rolling the die, figuring out the vowel that corresponds to the number rolled, and then identifying which word in their column can be completed with the vowel they rolled. The first player to completely and correctly fill out his or her column on the game board wins!
There are two versions of this printable phonics game, which allows for differentiation. The first version of Short Vowel Roll & Write Game includes images next to each incomplete word. For example, “p_t” has a picture of a pot next to it. These visuals give students clues about the words they are trying to create with the vowels they roll. Once the game has been completed, the two players can color in the images next to the words they correctly completed.
The second version of Short Vowel Roll & Write Game includes a drawing component, because it does not include images next to the incomplete words. Players use vowels to create a variety of words. For example, a player could complete the word “p_t” with the letters a, e, i, o, or u. Once a player creates a word in their column, he or she draws a picture of that word; in other words, a player could choose to use the “e” he or she rolled to create the word “pet,” and then draw a boy with his pet dog. The sketches for each word should not be drawn until the game is complete and a winner has been “crowned.”
Get excited, teachers, because you know I’ve saved a good one for last!
This final game is a bit like a phonics version of Hasbro® Chutes and Ladders™. Students practice sounding out short a and short o words as they help a character make his way home. Your students will be laughing and decoding as they hope to hit rainbows (to move ahead) and avoid lightning bolts (which take them backwards).
To play Rainbows & Rainclouds Phonics Game, break up students into groups of three to five players. Each group will need one die and a game board. During each turn, students roll the die and move forward the same number of spaces. They must then sound out whichever word they land on. If they land on a rainbow, they get to follow it to the connected space (woo hoo!). If they land on the lightning bolt, however, they have to go back to the space it points to—no pouting allowed!
The first player to reach the end wins! Simple enough for young kids to follow, this fast and easy game is a great way to enhance any phonics lesson!
Let’s face it, teachers—no matter how amazing our standards-based lessons are, there’s really only one sure-fire way to keep your students excited about learning up until the last instructional minute of the week (and no, it’s not movies): it’s GAMES! Have a little fun and download these three FREE printable phonics games to help keep your antsy students engaged in learning.