Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Friday= Game Day

Thank goodness for it being Friday. Just as my kindergartners are ready for a weekend, I must say, I can sympathize and am ready, as well. I hope that everyone is still able to follow along with these blogs, even though I’m sure we are all cramming to finish up those last assignments! But, just as all of us math teachers are anxiously approaching the finish line of our teaching lessons, our kindergartners too are fast approaching their own finish line with their eyes on “their numbers!”

Today was a bit different in Mrs. Carmack’s classroom. In fact, every Friday will be different. From now on, Mrs. Carmack wants to devote Fridays to be Game Day! I really think this will be beneficial to our kindergartners and I know they will all be excited to have the opportunity to try many new games. So, to make this Game Day concept a success, Mrs. Carmack had set up five different math stations. These games included Independent Group, where the students worked on pattern block designs, Bingo with numbers 0-20, Caterpillar Count Game with variations, NO Ones Game and Collect 6 Game.

Jessi was in charge of the Caterpillar Count Game. The objective of this game was to use different variations of numbers. Jessi chose variation one, which focused specifically on the numbers 1-20. The first player takes a number from the bag and using a crayon, shades in that number of spaces on the caterpillar. The next player then draws a number from the bag, and proceeds to color in the corresponding number of spaces on the caterpillar with his/her crayon. The play continues until the entire caterpillar has been colored. This game is motivating for the students because obviously they all want to be the last one to finish coloring the last spaces of their caterpillar, while it is also fun for the students to color and practice their numbers 1-20.

Colleen was in charge of the No Ones Game. The purpose of this game was to reach the finish on your board. To do this, the student had to roll a dice, and move to that number (not that number of spaces). So if I rolled a “5”, I would move to the number 5 spot on my game board. To follow, the next number I rolled I would move to that number spot on the board, as well. So, if I rolled another “5”, I would find the next “5” on my game board. Play continues with students taking turns until someone reaches the finish line. I think students like having the opportunity to roll the dice and all are anxious to progress moving farther and farther down the board.

Mrs. Carmack was in charge of the Collect 6 game because she needed to make some observational notes. She shared with us that this game was confusing to explain to the kindergartners, so naturally, she was in charge of this game. On the other hand, I was in charge of good old BINGO! I love watching my kindergartners become so excited when they only have one more number left, and then, when they hear their last number called and yell Bingo, boy do they get excited! Since most of my students know how to play this game, it was not difficult to explain the concept of the game. I think the only difficulty was for those that still have trouble recognizing all 1-20 numbers very well. Then you have some students who no longer want to be involved in the game, or other students who are trying to help and are constantly pointing to the number on the struggling student’s card. This ultimately results in the struggling student not necessarily playing the game themselves. For the most part though, I didn’t have any problems with this game, except for those students who weren’t winning. Of course, for kindergartners, it is important for each student to feel like they are a winner, even though they might not actually win the game. Let’s just say my kindergartners do not quite understand yet that they are all winners, and that they still need to learn how to display good sportsmanship. The world is not coming to and en if we don’t win every single game! Even though we had some issues with poor sportsmanship, I feel my students enjoyed playing this game because they are so familiar with it, and it is a game in which all students can become involved in, even if you don’t know their numbers perfectly yet. Time after time, if a student didn’t know a particular number or where it was on their board, you can be sure their neighbor would tell them, thinking some how they were cheating. Oh, the joy of being in a kindergartners shoes sometimes.

Overall, I think Game Day on Friday’s will be a future success. I like the idea that all of the students will be engaged in a variety of activities, while it also gives us math teachers and Mrs. Carmack a break from teaching. It is a great way to end a busy week, as well as work with all of the children’s ability levels. I hope that you all were able to follow along with this blog, even though I was not able to be at every station. I was only able to chart my own experiences from a specific game. But, hopefully this blog is still worthwhile! I’m excited to continue informing you all of our next game day encounters! As for now, I hope you all have a great weekend! Join us again on Monday!

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