The most common way to use games in the classroom is
After Test/Reward Game
A lot of teachers have a reward system where the class can eventually earn something like extra recess or a movie. Why not use a game day? Another great time is after a test. Everyone – including the teacher – is usually tired after the build up to a test, and games can be used to practice a skill in a fun way.
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about elementary homework. Studies have shown that homework at the elementary level really is not effective. As a teacher I found it difficult to have the time to go over the homework, especially when a good portion of my class didn’t even do it. If you don’t want to do away with homework altogether, you could have a game check out. Students could select a game to take home. Parents could simply sign the planner to show they played – hopefully together!
If you plan to use games for homework, keep in mind that some students don’t have anyone at home that can/will play a game. You would want to have some choices that could be played with one person. Or something they could teach family easily. Matching games are good for this.
Parent Game Party
Many schools are looking for ways to involve parents. I’ve also had a lot of people ask me for activities for student/parent parties. That is a great method to use the games, because teachers from the grade level could spread out and help teach different games to families. (Remember, not all families play games and know the rules! I learned that the hard way.)