26 May 2015 / Leave a Comment

Playing Games to Build Fluency

For me, it's always about having fun while learning.  I love to incorporate games into EVERYTHING!  WAYYYYY back when, I used to buy all of my games through companies like Lakeshore, but now I make my games so they fit exactly with words and concepts that I'm teaching.  So, in this post, I'm going to share a few games we play to help build fluency!


Our Spot that Word game is an all-time favorite!  It's a fast-paced game that builds fluency without the students ever knowing it!  You start with a deck in the middle of the students (we play with a maximum of 4 students because it can get too loud with more than that).  Each student picks one card.  Then the goal is to find your one match with the middle card before anyone else finds their match.  Every card has ONE match!  Don't ask me how it works... but it does!  Check out a freebie of the game if you are interested.  Click on the picture to see all of my Spot that Word games.


We are no longer allowed to have "Math Centers", but I still believe that games help build fluency, so we "fit them in" however we can.  Our board games, I Have, Who Has games, and Scoot are among our favorite classroom games.  

If you've never played I Have, Who Has... you're missing out.  Some teachers do this whole group, but last year we found that students actually like it more during center time as a group of 2-4, so that's how we play it.  Students divvy up cards, turn them all face up, and begin.  As they say their card, they turn it over.  If they can get through the entire game with all cards face down, they win.  Many times they turn over an incorrect card, but don't find out until they get to a point where they can't turn over any other cards.  If this happens, they have to start all over again.  There are many different ways to play this, but that's how they usually play.  


I've created a 36-week long curriculum that has 10-15 sight words each week for our students to learn. So with those words, I created games for the students to play to build fluency.  We have our game boards with sentences that are fill in the blank with the words, we have fluency strips to practice the sentences, we have flash cards to practice the words, we have I have, Who Has games to practice the words, and we have Build a Sentence to practice our words.  

In Build a Sentence, students have word cards in a pile.  They also have an envelope that tells them each sentence they have to build. One student reads the sentence, while the other student tries to find the words to build the sentence.  Two groups are usually playing, and they are racing to see who can finish all of their sentences first. 

I am constantly amazed at how incorporating games into our day has helped my students with word recognition and math fluency.  It does take some time to get everything situated (printed, laminated, cut, and stored), but in the long run, IT IS SOOOO WORTH IT! 



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