Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Makeover Mania: Battleship Games and 5 Reasons Why You Should Use Them **FREEBIE included!

I have been doing a big shop makeover. As I looked back at my first efforts on Teachers Pay Teachers, I saw so much room for improvement. First up on my list? Battleship Games.

I chose to start with Battleship Games for two reasons:

1. I have some new Battleship Games drafted and I want all of the formatting to be the same.
2. I created the original versions of these games in Word...with none of my favorite graphics. Yikes! Nothing against Word, but I am waaaay better at working in PowerPoint. I learned that after these games were up and running.

As I give my games a face lift, I starting thinking about why I love these games in the first place!

Before and after of Revolutionary War Battleship

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Playing Battleship Games in the Classroom

1. They Engage Every Single Student

Before Battleship, I was all about games that allowed my students to review content. My go-to was Jeopardy-style games. I would assign different point values to the content and create questions that student teams would "buzz in" to answer. My problem with these games was that certain students NEVER participated. No matter how I organized my teams, they slid into the background and let other members of their team do all of the heavy lifting and in turn, never practiced the content. As a result, they didn't have fun and made it hard for the rest of us to enjoy the game. These students were often the ones that needed the review the most.

Enter Battleship! Since all of the content work of the game is handled as a team, with everyone pairing the questions and answers or matching cards together, the students can help each other and have great conversations about the material while doing it. It is great to hear kids prompting a classmate. "Remember...synonyms are words that are the same." It also allowed me to circulate the room and really assist where needed. Students are not put on the spot to know all content. They are required to find the answer in notes or reference materials and we all get to help each other firm up our knowledge!

The way the game is set up allows for easy differentiation!

2. They Require Teamwork

In my experience, the best classroom games require students to work together. I always begin the game by explaining to students that the point of the game is to have fun and practice the material. Once students realize that the competition in the game is inconsequential and its only purpose is to have fun while practicing content, it is easier to allow teams to help each other. During the matching portion of the game, teams work together to get all cards matched and arranged for the next part of the game. Sometimes a team will need help. I often send members of teams that are finished to help other teams. It is a great way to hammer home that our class works together!

An addition to helping each other during matching, teams work together to effectively answer questions during the guessing portion of play.

All parts of the game promote working together!

3. Battleship games are Great to use with Reference Materials like Interactive Notebooks

Since the rules of Battleship can be adapted to many different subjects and topics, use of reference materials such as Interactive Notebooks are the perfect companion. If applicable, I usually require students to have reference materials available. If I need to provide assistance with a student or group, having the reference materials they need handy.

I have included a freebie to allow you to try the game with your class. Synonyms and Antonyms Battleship!

If you do download, don't forget to leave feedback:) 

4. They Promote Critical Thinking and Strategy

During the guessing portion of the game, teams will often hit roadblocks. You can expect to hear kids commenting to each other about how to distribute cards to all members of the team to ensure the fastest draw. I have also had teams of students who are systematic about their guessing to make the most of each correct answer.

After each game, I always make it a point for teams to share what worked and what didn't for their team. They share dos and don't with each other, making each game after better and better!

5. They are FUN!

Battleship games are a great way to make sure that you review, preview, or practice content. They are a fun change from other academic games. They make the most of your valuable classroom time. All of those things are important, but... in my opinion, learning should be fun. I have students come back to visit me all the time. The thing that I hear the most is that they wish they could come back because we made learning fun. They will say, "I wish my new school played games like we did." or "Middle school is okay, but sometimes I wish that class was more fun."

Here is the link to my original Battleship post, in case you want to learn more about them.

I am also linking to the Battleship section of my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. You can find all of the games I currently have available. Check back often and follow me. I will be adding several more games in the coming weeks.

Comment if you have a suggestion for a Battleship Game!