Research shows the importance of student-teacher relationships, including increasing student engagement, motivation, test scores, and GPAs while decreasing absenteeism, dropout rates, and discipline issues. In his research on types of teacher-student relationships, principal and education author Dr. Don Parker contends that while building relationships with your students is essential and takes time, developing meaningful connections doesn’t have to pull focus away from academics.
There are daily opportunities for building student-teacher relationships to impact your students’ learning experiences positively. Several types of classroom games provide productive ways for teachers and students to create a better dynamic. Icebreaker activities promote quick personal connections. Quiz games help students review recent material and can also help encourage prosocial behaviors such as patience, respect, or accepting defeat with grace, for example. Let’s talk about a handful of games that may help foster strong relationships between you and your students.
Before you get started, here are some tips to remember:
- Games can be tweaked and tailored for students of any age and classes of all sizes.
- Involve as many learners as possible. In some situations, partners and teams help encourage more active involvement.
- Establish ground rules such as no shouting or interrupting classmates to create an environment conducive to healthy competition.
- Setting a time limit keeps games moving and helps maximize class time.
- Help students set a learning goal and target, clarifying why you’re playing a game, what it will review, or what skills it may help them practice. Even the least academically inclined games can help students practice critical thinking, teamwork, public speaking, and basic relationship-building social skills.
Students today may not remember Alex Trebek, but the game he helped make famous is as accessible and crowd-pleasing as ever. JeopardyLabs is one free and simple way to create questions in a custom template, or you can easily create a custom game board in Google Slides.
Bring Your Own Book
As the title suggests, this fun reading game requires students to use their own independent reading books or classroom novels to find quotes of text to share, take out of context, and discuss. It works well with small groups or the entire class, and a free print-and-play version is available for download at the game’s website.
Players take turns being the “judge,” drawing a card each round with prompts such as “Dialogue in an action movie,” “Lyrics for a country-western song,” or “A sentence twice as dramatic when read slowly,” for example. The other players grab their books to find the most appropriate (or funniest) quote to fit the category, with the judge deciding a winner. To make it more than just a fun game, you can also have students discuss the context of their choices and consider how they may connect with selections from classmates.
Kahoot! and Quizziz Digital Quizzes
Online, interactive quiz games are enjoying booming popularity, and the trend has produced several exciting options for “gamification” of the classroom in recent years. Online quiz games are a great use of technology for formative yet informal assessments. Students enjoy the friendly competition and will appreciate you making the experience more fun.
Kahoot! and Quizziz have emerged as two of the field’s prominent platform options. Premium content is available for both, but each platform features robust free options that cover the necessities. Creating custom multiple-choice questions and sharing a link for students to join only takes a matter of minutes.
Goosechase Digital Scavenger Hunts
In the same way Kahoot!, Quizziz, and similar Q&A games have embraced the use of technology in the classroom, Goosechase reimagines scavenger hunts with a digital platform that gets students interacting with each other and the real world. The basic version is available to educators for free, letting you create interactive experiences and issue challenges for students to complete as teams.
There are hundreds of pre-built experience templates covering subjects such as math, geography, and science, as well as holidays, popular books, and templates to encourage general team-building and social connections. Students upload photos or video proof of completed missions and can track a leaderboard of their and their classmates’ progress across various challenges.
Establish and Develop Relationships with Help from Avanti
Interactive games not only strengthen your students’ problem-solving and social skills, but they are fun and help your students create stronger relationships with you and other students.
Built by teachers for teachers, Avanti makes it easy to find strategies and resources on relationship-building that can be implemented immediately in your classroom. Sign up for a free seven-day trial of Avanti to begin browsing the entire resource library and expand your teaching toolkit.