Skip to content
SA Together Again: We’re back in classrooms and taking learning to new levels!
Blog

Mission Possible

Stories and insights on excellent education.

Game On! What Happens When Kindergarteners Play Board Games

Every Wednesday morning, my kindergarten scholars begin their day just like any other: After shaking our principal’s hand at arrival, they head to the cafeteria for breakfast, then walk upstairs with me to unpack. But there’s one thing that’s different about Wednesdays—by the time we to get to our classroom, they’re buzzing with excitement, because Wednesday is Gamesday, and they get to play Blokus with their friends.

The brainchild of founder Eva Moskowitz, Gamesday is new this year and happens at all Success Academy elementary schools every Wednesday: Blokus in kindergarten, Monopoly in first and second grade, and Settlers of Catan in third and fourth grades. Gamesday is a joyful time, but it is also educational. It is a time for scholars to build social skills and become critical thinkers.

First, my scholars join me at the rug to review the rules and strategies of Blokus. Blokus is a four-player board game that’s similar to Tetris — except that instead of fitting together random blocks, you connect blocks of the same color at their corners. The goal is to play as many of your game pieces as you can and block your opponents from putting down theirs.

I project the game board on the classroom SmartBoard, and we play a review game. I start off by saying, “What must touch?” and the scholars respond by chanting, “The corners must touch!” This call-and-response reinforces the most important rule of the game and gets my scholars excited about playing. After working as a team for a short time, I let scholars who have mastered the rules branch off and begin their own games at their tables. Eventually, every scholar is engaged in a game with three other scholars.

As the children play, I watch them take turns, learn to deal with actions and consequences, make tough choices, and be good teammates. I see them strategize by counting and sorting their game pieces into groups. I can see the wheels turning in their brains as they think ahead to what their next move is going to be. Often, they ask their friends whether they made a good move or not! As I coach them, I am constantly amazed to see the work that children do together naturally.

By playing these games, my scholars are learning and developing vital skills right before my eyes.

I asked my scholars about Gamesday, and here is what some of them told me:

IMG_3500

“I like playing Blokus because when I play, I talk to my friends, and every time I take a turn, the other friend takes a turn too.” –Ashima


IMG_3500

“When we play Blokus, I touch the corners and people get to go next after me. If it’s wrong, I can just fix it!” –Devon


 

IMG_3500

“When I play Blokus with my friends, we talk about touching the corners. When we have conversations about touching the corners, we help each other and play at the same time.” –Nevaeh


 

IMG_3500

“I get to sort the pieces on the number cards, and we get to touch the corners. We play with the teachers and we get to play with friends.” –Khai

Written by Meredith Didlake December 17, 2015

Blog

Related posts

“Happy Children Learn Better” – An SA parent reflects on the return to campus

October 7, 2021 Success Academy

Success Academy reopened its doors to scholars across the city in August, safely ushering students back into the classroom after an unprecedented 2020-21 school year. To keep our scholars safe — and learning — it’s more important than ever that we work together with families and guardians to ensure everyone in our community is on... Read more

Back to Basics: 3 Ways Parents Can Help Scholars Adjust to In-Person Learning

October 4, 2021 Success Academy

The school year is well underway, and it is so exciting to be together again in our classrooms. We love seeing scholars connect face-to-face and participate in hands-on science labs, team sports, and theatre productions alike. Nevertheless, we know returning to a new or unfamiliar learning space can be a challenging transition, and scholars might... Read more

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

September 29, 2021 Success Academy

The deadly pandemic that forced children to isolate and learn remotely has only deepened painful issues of inequity. All around us, there is profound learning loss and lack of access to equitable resources. At Success Academy, we have a special obligation to get back on track and ensure that our students realize their full potential,... Read more

Enroll your child

We’re now accepting K-4 applications for the 2021-2022 school year.

Work with us

Build your career while making an impact at Success Academy.