Learning Activities

12 Killer Learning Activities

Remember learning activities and learning centres.

They were all the rage during the 80s. Typically, like all things education, they lost favour. We went overboard and removed the game aspect of learning activities. Again, like all things educational, the baby went out with the bath water.

I understand Learning Activities and Learning Centres ​went a bit "over board". It was all we heard about in the 80s. The "new" age of education was amongst us. A lot like Process Writing,  where ideas were important but spelling wasn't. 

That worked well didn't it?

I have to admit I went a bot overboard too. Everything was activity based at the expense of good teaching. Now, we look for more balamce.

It's time to reinvent activity based learning - in perspective.

Are Learning Activities Just Games?

Good question.

I guess the keyword is well, LEARNING!

Learning. Kids need to LEARN from the Learning Activities.

Sure, there are the social skills of play games together, losing, winning and following rules. That is no small feat in some classrooms and with some kids. That's okay if social skills is important and the students LEARN that social skills are important.

If they don't, it is just a filler.

Some Learning Activities take ages to prepare. So if you spend an hour preparing a learning activity you don't want kids to finish it after 10 minutes.

Rotating Learning Activities.

You can use a rotation basis where some kids play one game and on a signal they rotate to another game. That works pretty well. It has a couple of advantages.

  • You save resources
  • You can keep time on each game to a minimum so kids don't get bored.

​I usually showed the kids how to use each activity together and then we developed a rotation learning centre of activities that took 15 minutes each.

4 x 15 minutes = one hour.

We used various activities and kids rotated through them.

They WEREN'T GAMES. Well not in the true sense of the word. Games are for fun only. Learning activities are for learning.

I revisited this teaching approach at one of my relief teaching gigs in a senior primary class.

It was brilliant. Kids were​

  • Focussed
  • Engaged
  • Communicative with each others
  • and developed the strategies for how to work each activity.

​You shouldn't really call it a game because you shouldn't play games in school.

It actually blew me away how successful this activity was.

​I started with the whole class engaging with ONE activity called LEAP YOU. I resurrected it from my old file of classroom activities. It is essentially a bit like Chinese checkers.

learning activities leap you
  • The students work in pairs and had to read the rules (and understand them) before we started the activity. (Curriculum Content - TICK)
  • We played (oops! participated) in one practice activity. In practice games there is no winner - so the students can discuss strategies, rules, try new things. It is important to STRESS that this is a trial so they can learn together. (Communication Skills - TICK)
  • In their day pads they wrote about the game. (Writing Skills - TICK)
  • After which they engaged with the activity on a competitive basis. 

What you Need

You need the Leap You Sheet and you need some counter - and lots of them. (I use 5 cent pieces as markers because I have lots of them and they make excellent markers for all learning activities. You can purchase markers and sort them into the same colours from toy stores for about 5c each). You can use head/tail but I purchased a small tin of gold paint and painted one side of the 5 cent coin. 

More Learning Activities

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