Teachers are finding that a good balance combining studies and games is a successful strategy for learning with elementary school students. Teachers at Prospect Elementary School have discovered a way to keep children moving while they practice things like math skills that would normally have them sitting behind desks.
When the school’s staff began looking for ways to incorporate more physical activities in the classroom, they came up with something called Fab Friday.
Instead of one of their regular classes on Fridays, groups of students head to the school gym. There, they take a break from normal classes to play games.
Fab Friday is led by teachers Chrissy Geren, Cheryl Hooper, Michele Dunkle and Pam Coffey. The team spends the whole day hosting the classes that visit the gym for a 45-minute period each Friday. Three classes per grade — kindergarten through fifth grade — take part in Fab Friday for one class period and continue with their other classes for the rest of the day.
Leading games like one that requires students to create compound words with their teammates is another way to teach skills the students need to know. The teachers said the activities cater to those who may have learning styles that make it more difficult to learn in a traditional classroom setting, and it provides another opportunity for all the students to practice what they have learned.
“Given something hands-on, they get it,”?Dunkle said.
The activities themselves change from week to week, and the teachers who lead Fab Friday start planning earlier in the week to make sure activities go along with lessons.
They also ask other teachers what their students have been learning so they know which subjects they should address. If fourth-graders are learning how to multiply numbers, then they might play a game that incorporates multiplication.
“We are supporting their curriculum,”?Hooper said.
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