My second-grade students have very busy bodies. I have struggled to accomplish anything in class, and I have been growing frustrated—I waste too much time trying to get their attention. After a few weeks together, I am realizing that I should find ways to focus their excitement and energy rather than stifle it. I am going to try a new approach: we will play more learning games and do fewer crafts, and I will incorporate lots of movement around the room.
Our upcoming lesson on the Ten Commandments will be a great opportunity to practice active learning. I will set up game stations around the room, and after quickly reviewing the commandments as a class, I will break the class into small groups and rotate them through each game. My stations will include classic games that don’t require much instruction: bowling, hopscotch, pick-up sticks, and matching.
Ten Commandments Bowling
For our bowling game, I am going to use a children’s bowling set. If you don’t have a bowling set at home, check with your family, friends, and students’ families to see if they have one you can borrow. A number that corresponds to one of the Ten Commandments will be taped to each pin. Children will have three turns to knock down their pins. After their attempts, they will have to name a loving action they could do that would honor those commandments numbered on the pins they knocked down.
Ten Commandments Hopscotch
I’ll make the hopscotch game out of masking tape; each square is numbered with one of the commandments. The students will toss a small stuffed animal onto the squares. They will have to name an action that would dishonor the commandment of the square in which the stuffed animal lands.
Ten Commandments Pick-Up Sticks
Before playing pick-up sticks, I’ll write the numbers 1–10 on popsicle sticks. I’ll repeat each number a few times to extend the game. As students successfully retrieve sticks from the pile, they will need to identify which commandment matches the number on their stick.
Ten Commandments Matching
Each set of cards for the matching game will include 20 index cards. Ten cards will list the commandments, three will have the words When I follow this Commandment I am honoring God, and seven will have the words When I follow this Commandment I am honoring other people. Students will need to match a commandment card to the correct category card.
I hope these games will keep my students’ bodies and minds active throughout the lesson. I would have a much more difficult time getting the children to sit still if I shared this information with them by using the book, a craft, or my own words.
Do you have any games that you like to play to teach a particular lesson? Please share them in the comments section below.