3 Ways to Play as a Learning Priority

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Increasingly, we read and observe how fun, games, sports and laughter add a personal power-punch to learning. 

Yet more than half the high school students who drop out, report stress, boredom and disengagement in class, as reasons for failure. What if you stockpile playful possibilities along  your pathway into any new term? Or toss in a game wherever you stand now. !Play to learn

Want brilliance to show up in creative answers in your next class?

Take time to play with complex concepts, and students will engage both sides of their brains. Achieve more like Einstein learned and created the theory of relativity from riding an imaginary arc. It’s based on brain-at-play-principles that illustrate how play brings together diverse parts of a wider view to make sense of smaller steps forward.How so?

Here are three learning adventures that keep my students curious and engaged as they apply intelligent concepts to their already cool new ideas!

A. Jigsaw Your Lesson Content. First, transform lecture or lesson facts into cheat sheets. Or have students research lesson facts and create their own cheat sheets for the jigsaw game.

  1. First, form 6 teams so that every member possesses a cheat sheet to facts required for one of the questions asked on their jigsaw graphic.
  2. Second – Assigned team names: A -1, B-2, C-3, D-4, E-5 or F-6
  3. Third – Novice Teams (or #1 – #6 groups) use cheat sheet facts to complete practical applications for assigned group. Brainstorm and take notes as team 1 applies facts for #1 and so on. for instance, (Groups A will apply facts for #1; Groups B will apply facts for # 2; Groups C will apply facts for # 3; Groups D will apply facts for # 4; Groups E will apply facts for # 5; Groups F will apply facts for # 6)
  4. Fourth, Expert Teams (all As, all B’s, all Cs, all Ds, all Es, all Fs now join new teams) to teach from your  novice team notes.  Each expert team has one each (of A,B,C,D,E,F) members. Groups that finish faster can discuss facts to get ready for the game that will use these facts.

B. Talking Stick Imaginings 

In groups of 3 or 4 – pass a talking stick to imagine –

  1. You lead the situation differently from the lesson or text leader – and then describe your expected results to show how they improved the outcomes.
  2. Predict the ending to a story,  event, or innovative effort …
  3. Apply the content in a fun game or tip that will help your team to review for the next test.
  4. Your ideas to make a talking stick work for playful learning …?

C. Cheat Sheet Guessing Games

  1. Teams prepare cheat sheets ahead to cover key facts for one area of the lesson.
  2. Exchange cheat sheets or teach another team until all have learned.
  3. Create a facilitator list of facts in question-answers form.
  4. Face off in teams to answer facts in rapid fire and then dash to back of line.

If you enjoy turning your lessons into playful exchanges – you may be interested in additional resources to build learning cultures through brain-based play – at all ages.

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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset