Using games to target and review academic skills is highly effective, especially in special education. Not only is it engaging for students, but it also helps them to generalize their skills. Generalized skills mean students can use these skills whenever they need them!
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How to choose a game to target academics
Look for a game that you can add or change out cards to target skills. Here are some games that work well:
- Let’s Go Fishing (see below on how to incorporate academics)
- Guess Who (change out the people pictures to match your target skills)
- Cariboo (change out cards on top of boxes)
- Zingo (add in different cards, boards, etc.)
How to target academics in games
Here are examples of targeting and reviewing academic skills in the game, Let’s Go Fishing.
1)Add in a way for students to sort the game pieces to target colors.
2)Target number identification, rote counting, counting on, and making sets by putting numbered scraps of paper inside the fish.
You could also add up the numbers at the end of that game and see who has the highest amount. Another idea would be to graph how many of each number you found.
3)Target reading skills by putting words on the papers instead of numbers. With the words you could target:
- Letter identification- students state the letter they find
- Letter sounds- students state the sound and/or a word for the letter
- Sight word practice- students read the word they “catch”
- Rhyming- students read the word and come up with the word that rhymes with it
- Comprehension- students tell the meaning of the word
- Creating sentences- students come up with a sentence for the word
- Descriptive language- students give clues for someone else to guess the word
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Why target academics with games?
Many times our students need a high level of repetition in order to master and generalize skills. Practice can become stagnant and boring. Using games to target academics is a great way to keep students engaged and on the path to mastery.