Oranda Teaching and Learning Blog

Why: Teachers are seeking ways to get excited about learning and engage students.  Are online games a good way to increase student involvement in a classroom?
Purpose: Learning about different games modules that are available online and starting a dialogue of effective games in the classroom
Next steps: Finding games that are appropriate to your subject matter.  Share what you find with us and your thoughts on games in the classroom!


One aspect of education that is getting a lot of traction and excitement, yet is still met with some concern, is the idea that games can provide avenues of learning.  Children have a strong desire to play and not sit in a classroom held captive to learning how to fill in bubbles.  Yet our current structure of education employs a lot of passive sitting. 

 I can understand the skepticism of games can be learning, when I look at the huge market of games that engender lethargy and captivity to television or computer screens.  And many educational games in the past are not as exciting, but I have noticed a very positive trend in making learning for children a more interactive and engaging process.  Such websites include iCivics, BrainPop and Mission-US

 Interaction with material does build lasting impressions.  It is hard to remember the lectures I received on sciences in school, but when we got to play genetic games using dice to decide what our potential children would look like, it is easier to remember genetic probabilities.  This of course is anecdotal evidence, and not much research has been done at the middle and high school levels to engage children in more games to help learning.

 Are you a teacher who uses games in your classroom, no matter what grade level?  What games do you use in your classrooms?  Have they been helpful in building understanding in the students?

 It’s exciting to see what new initiatives around the world are looking to promote healthfulness in our schools.  Building good habits at a young age, that include eating whole fruits and vegetables and being active in sports or other activities, ensure building habits that can last for a life-time.  In Australia, Aussie Apple is looking to promote just that!  Healthy schools mean providing students opportunities to be physically fit with good nutrition and lots of opportunities to move around during the day. Aussie Apple’s understands this.  A program to promote the eating of apples in Australia, is also sponsoring schools to begin using Recessitate (Focus 123).  Good meals help keep students engaged in the classroom, and the opportunity to move around help with student Focus. Two hundred lucky schools who register to be part of this health initiative with Aussie Apple’s get a free box of Recessitate!
Aussie Apple School Registration

From the Aussie Apple Website: We all know the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but why have apples always been such an important part of a healthy balanced diet?Apples are an antioxidant powerhouse with a greater antioxidant capacity than half a punnet of blueberries, a cup of strawberries or an orange. They are a great snack on the go and can even literally help you breathe easy and keep you feeling fuller for longer.These pages contain articles about the nutritional benefits of apples and why apples really are an everyday superfood – more great reasons to enjoy an Aussie Apple everyday which include Antioxidants, nutritional value that boosts immune systems, weight control, and the ability to breathe easy.

What else can schools do to promote healthfulness inside the classroom?  Oranda would love to see your ideas in the comment section.

It is the intention of this blog to bring educators together by highlighting exceptional resources that help us engage, connect and grow with each other and our children.  We often operate in our own bubble, and many of us on 'fumes.'  Sound familiar?

In today's blog, I'd like to highlight something close to home at my husband's district in South San Francisco.  They are following Marzano (just one name, like Madonna) and reading The Highly Engaged Classroom.  



There's an entire section dedicated to using movement as an engagement strategy where on page 25, there is a list of resources that help incorporate physical movement in the classroom.   I would like to add www.recessitate.com (copyright 2010) to the energy shifting strategy list. Any volunteers to contact the publisher for the next publication?

Authors Marzano and Pickering write that moving is used to lift energy. 'Rehearsal' is another way that teachers use movement to help students remember content.  And, that students can leave their desks and have stand-up meetings with each other or meet in corner groups to process content or create a human graph or continuum of some sort with their bodies.  Yes, standing up and moving gets blood to the brain (think oxygen) and improves thinking.  All of these strategies work to create a highly engaged classroom. Thanks Marzano and Pickering!