Adding Games Into Your Classes

Posted by Jacinda Miller on

Do you love doing games in your classes? Or, are you in the "camp" of doing one game at the end of each class? 

Games have proven to be an effective learning tool.  Games can help students improve recall and retention of the information that you have taught, as well as develop problem solving and team building skills. 

And, if you ask a student what they love about class? They'll say that they love the game or activity because it is FUN! 

We want our students having fun because they want to keep coming back and if we're lucky then they'll bring their friends to our classes too! 

When can you add a game to class? 

I've taught hundreds and maybe thousands of classes and I used to play a quick (and somewhat lame) game at the end of class. Think along the lines of freeze dance... Since restructuring my classes, we now incorporate games throughout the class.  Here's an outline of my class:

5 minutes - Welcome & Warm-Up (include a prop like poms or ribbons) 

5-8 minutes - Review tricks from previous week and game

10 minutes - New tricks and game

5 minutes - Dance technique

10 minutes - Routine & game

10 minutes - Misc - 2-baton, pom

Do our students get too excited and unable to focus? 

One of the many questions that people asks us about is if our students get too excited and can't focus?  And, the answer is not really.  We set clear expectations about what to expect and student behavior.  Our students also expect this format and love it.  Our classes go fast and students are happy and excited when they leave our class when they leave our classes. 

What types of games do we do in class? 

This format of class sounds like a lot of work and it does require some planning, however, many of our games are simple in nature.  For example, if we are teaching a new type of toss, we might set a 1 minute timer to see how many tosses our twirler can get in a minute.  We might create 2 teams and combine the number of tosses in one minute and see which team wins.  Many of the games are simple and easy to implement. 

We do other games that require more planning and many of those games you can access in our professional development class.  The games can be easily modified for a dance, baton or gymnastics class. 

What benefits are there to this model? 

First, your students are going to learn and remember more of what you teach them which is the number one goal! And, over the long term, your students are going to keep coming back for more classes. Happy students equals happy parents and hopefully they will spread the word about how great your program is and bring you more students.  

How much time does it take to prep for class? 

Typically, I plan about 15-20 minutes for each of my age groups. Many of the activities that I have planned can be used in multiple classes throughout the week. 

Check out this week's podcast to learn about how games are part of how we attract new students too!