How to Include Teachable Moments During Family Game Night
A teachable moment is a term used in the field of education to refer to a time when it is optimal to teach kids something. For example, a teachable moment is when you are using a ruler to draw a straight line on a piece of paper and your kid comes up and asks you what you are doing. This is the moment when they are the most likely to listen to your answer and learn because they brought it up. If they follow up your answer with the famous “why”, then you have an extended teachable moment.
Fleet and Robertson, in 2004, wrote that play is the time when kids learn new ways to think and understand their world. Play helps kids learn to be problem solvers and kids learn to be resilient when they take risks and make mistakes. These first adventures, into being learners via play, typically happen for kids within the context of their family. Family play interactions offer kids the most optimal learning environment and can take advantage of unexpected teachable moments.
One thing to think about, in terms of this information is how to set up your family routine to ensure plenty of teachable moments and how to do this through play. Organizing a routine, consistent family game night is one strategy that can be applied. Some ideas for games that offer fun and teachable moments for kids are “The Deconstruction Word Game” and “The Dictionary Game”.
Teachable Moments During Family Game Night: The Deconstruction Word Game
The gist of the Deconstruction Word Game is to take a big long word and see how many smaller words can be made using the letters in the long word. This family game is probably most suitable for kids ages nine and above who are good readers and spellers. The word to be deconstructed does not need to be known to the kids for the game to work, but what a good teachable moment this offers for increasing vocabulary.
The rules of this family game are to give everyone a piece of paper with the long word to be deconstructed written at the top and a pencil. Set a timer for 15 minutes and say start. When the timer goes off everyone is to lay down their pencils and count the number of words. Each family member reads their words and the adult, in the group, judges them to be real words or imposters. The family member with the most real words wins.
Some teachable moments that can be capitalized upon in this game Include: teaching what the big word to deconstruct means, giving examples of how to use the word in daily life, having the kids make up ways they can use the word in daily and helping the kids see how to take letters from the big word and other words from them
Teachable Moments During Family Game Night: The Dictionary Game
The Dictionary Game is another game for family members who are ages nine and above who are good readers and spellers. There are many different kinds of kid’s dictionaries that can be bought or found on line. They are even divided into math, geography, history and more.
It is imperative to have a kid’s dictionary, in an area of interest to you and your family, in order to play this game on family game night. One way to make the game go faster is to have family members spend time, before the family game night begins, finding one or more words in the dictionary that will be theirs during the game. They write the definition of each of the words on 3 x 5 cards and keep these somewhere other family members can’t find them.
When it is time for family game night to begin, give each family member two blank 3 x 5 cards and a pencil. Choose the order rotation family members will go in to be the reader. To begin the game, the first reader only reads the word on one of their card at this time. They do not read the definition. If any family member says they know the word, the reader gives their second word. When it is settled that the word in not known, all of the other family members have two minutes to write a false definition for the word.
At the end of two minutes, everyone hands their false definitions to the reader. The reader scrambles the cards so no one can tell who wrote the definition and includes their real definition in with the false definition cards. The reader reads each of the definitions one at a time, trying to make each one seem like it could be the real definition. When all definitions are read, each family member chooses the definition they feel is the real one. The reader then tells everyone what the real definition of the word is.
To score the game, the reader gets as many points as the number of family member who selected the wrong definition. Family members who guessed the correct definition each get one point. Have one family member keep track of each person scores. Continue to play until all words have been played.
This games offers several teachable moments related to talking about what the word “definition” means and looking at words in the dictionary and talking about what a dictionary definition contains such as: a pronunciation key, the part of speech the word is and the standard way dictionaries define words. Another teachable moment might be talk about how to write a sentence that sounds like a definition.
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