Much has been written in the past year about the need for students to move more during the school day. Many educational researches have concluded that many attention issues and discipline problems are the result of too little movement. Frankly, it is a source of relief to me that the mercurial tide of educational thought has turned in this direction. For years, I have been using games which involve leaping with flyswatters or crashing around the room with colored markers and other activities that may seem of dubious merit to an evaluator looking for silence and order. Thankfully, I have largely been blessed with evaluators who do see the educational merit to physical activity in the classroom but I still worry. Let's face it - games are noisier than worksheets. Noisy classroom, we have been programmed to believe, means bad teacher. As a beginning teacher, I also worried about maintaining control. How much control could I really have with kids moving around the classroom? It seemed much safer if they all just stayed in their seats. Now, I realize that by incorporating physical activity, I actually have more control. I have less students asking to leave the room, less unfocused attention, less chatting etc. Physical activity doesn't mean a physical free for all. I insist on good sportsmanship and good attention. I make it clear that if I do not get these things, I will cancel the game. It's a much more meaningful threat than canceling the worksheet.
Here's the other thing you need to embrace - good games are good instruction. Really. Some teachers see games only as the entertainment break after the "real teaching." Such thinking can be difficult to dislodge. I implore you, take a deep breath and give it a shot. Games instruct at all levels. I have used them with my advanced placement class as well as my beginners. As proof, I offer a pile of gold and silver medals on the National Latin Exam and no AP scores less than a "3."
Only a few of the games described in this section have been created by me. Many I learned from the fantastic foreign language faculty at Concord High School in Concord, New Hampshire. Linda Kordas and Nancy Emery provided many activities listed on this website with supporting help from the Laura Ernst, the inspiring German teacher at the same school. I was only at Concord for a short time but I am continually in these women's debt for all the creative activities which they and other innovative foreign language teachers shared with me, Multas gratias, Magistrae