Tag Archives: review games

Connect Four (Board Games in the Classroom)

Again, going back to “old school” games….Connect Four is a good game to look for when you are hitting the garage sales. I once saw a SMARTBoard version, but the real version is enjoyed by all kids (Funny how as an adult, it’s one of the last games I feel like playing with my own kids.)

You can use Connect Four for review purposes with no extra preparation.

Divide your class into two groups (as in most teaching situations, the smaller the class the better) and set them on opposite sides of the room with the Connect Four board in between them.

Begin your review session by asking a team a question. If that team is correct, they get to place a checker in the slot. If they are wrong, the other team can make a move.

This does put a lot of pressure on students to come up with the right answer, so it is probably a good idea to not single out a particular student to provide the answer. Instead, make it a team effort.

Each round ends rather quickly, so it is fast paced and no one gets bored. And everyone is reviewing.


My 9-year-old, “Tweedle Ian”, during a game of Connect Four. How can I resist those big brown eyes?

Trash to Treasure (Board Games in the Classroom)

As we are in garage sale season, now is a great time to pick up some cheap board games. These games don’t even have to be in great shape or complete. The random playing pieces (like dice, chips, board markers, or checkers from a partial set) can be used in a variety of ways with your students.

The pieces of the games, boards included, can be modified for classroom use and incorporated into student projects (one of the choices for our Earth Science project is to make a review game).

An idea I recently read about in Differentiated Assessment Strategies: One Tool Doesn’t Fit All, by Carolyn Chapman and Rita King, is to have students place the red monopoly houses on the main idea and green houses on supporting details.

Other ideas:

  • Students can place a red house on a math problem they are stuck on and as the teacher comes around the room, they will be able to stop and help them.
  • Students can lay a red, yellow, or green playing piece on the corner of their paper to show their comfort level with the concept being taught.
  • Use a deck of cards to create random groups. (All the 4’s are in a group, all the hearts are on a team, the Aces are team captains, etc.)
  • Give a sand timer to a student who easily gets distracted or who needs limits. They can try to complete a certain number of problems in 2 minutes.
  • Use play money as part of your reward system or to practice money skills.
  • Use colored marbles or chips for a lesson in probability.

Here is a shopping list for your next garage sale outing. You may have to think outside the box and look inside game boxes to find these goodies:

  • spinners
  • dice
  • cards
  • checkers or chess pieces
  • game boards
  • play money
  • marbles
  • place markers
  • dominoes
  • letter tiles
  • sand timers

Because my cat, Ellie, is an indoor cat she can’t go to garage sales. But, she does like to play good old-fashioned board games!


Tweedle Dee and Ellie playing a Lego game.


Ellie takes her turn at Shrek Monopoly. (One of my LEAST favorite games of all time.)


Ellie and Tweedle Ian play Yahtzee (with foam dice because they are silent!)


Guess Who? Yep, Ellie again!

And They All Fall Down (Board Games in the Classroom)

Jumbling Tower is the generic version of the game Jenga. I think I bought it at Walmart for half the price.

It is a game of physics, dexterity, and strategy. It can also be a game of educational value.

I preloaded my set of blocks with vocabulary definitions. I wrote a Language Arts Based set in one color and a set of math definitions in a different color.

Students are broken into teams and each student is armed with a dry erase board. Team members take turns pulling blocks from the stack and I read the definition out loud. Everyone answers the question on their dry erase boards and then we share answers.

The beauty of this game is no one wants to knock over the tower, so the game goes on and on and on…..until the bell rings for lunch.




What types of “old-school” games do you play in your classroom?
Have you modified a traditional game to make it educational?

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