## Saturday, March 3, 2012

### Word Play With Jenga

I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Jenga – Part 2 (Literacy) I know, I know, Jenga is a block game, how are you going to teach writing with it? Well, last week I gave you some tips for how to teach math with Jenga, now I have some ways, and all you need is Jenga and a little masking tape (the thin tape works best).

For each of these variations on Jenga, put a small piece of masking tape on each Jenga block. On each piece of masking tape, write vocabulary word or sight word.
1. Read the Sight Words – Play Jenga using standard play rules, except if a student can read the word on the block, they do not put it back in the pile.  If they can read their word, they get to keep it in a pile in front of them.  When the tower falls, or you run out of blocks, the person with the most blocks in front of them wins.  For older students with vocabulary words instead of sight words, they can give a definition for the word instead of reading it.
2. Line them Up Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them.   When the tower falls, or when each student has 7 blocks in front of them, stop and have the students put their words in alphabetical order.  The first one to get their words in alphabetical order wins.

3. Make the Longest Sentence – Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower falls, or when each student has 7 blocks in front of them, stop and have the students use their words to make a sentence.  The student who can use the most words to make a sentence that makes sense wins.

4. – Sorting by Parts of Speech - Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower falls, or when each student has 7 blocks in front of them, stop and have the students and sort their words by part of speech (noun, verb, adjective).  The student who can sort their words first wins.  Note some words can fall into more than one part of speech.  For those words, allow students to justify where they have chosen to place that word.
I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Jenga in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Click HERE for more suggestions on how to use board games in your classroom.  Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!