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As a tutor, I am always looking for ways to engage my students and avoid some worksheets. I've discovered that I can do some pretty awesome things with Jenga! One of my favorite things that I discovered about Jenga is that you can turn it into a game that can change with the topics you are teaching. I wanted to show you three ways that I have altered the game and then tell you all the different subjects I've used Jenga with.
Chalkboard Jenga Learning:
One day while browsing my local dollar store, I saw these mini Jenga games. At the time, I was also way into crafting. I picked up the game and handled it for a few moments pondering what I could do with this game to make it tutor session friendly. Within a minute, my mind thought of using chalkboard paint and a chalk pen to write math problems, sight words, vocabulary, etc. I bought three games and went home all giddy to try it out with my students.
Chalkboard Painting Tip:
After you paint each block, you'll want to sand the edges slightly to get rid of some of the friction. Then lightly dust the blocks with regular chalk before writing on them with a chalk pen (found at any craft store).
Dry Erase Jenga Learning:
About a year after successfully playing with my chalkboard Jenga, I was browsing Staples and saw these sheets of dry erase sheets that could adhere to wood, metal, glass…almost anything! Once again, my mind flashed back to Jenga. Perfect combination! I bought a pack and went right home. This time I used a regular size of Jenga game. I cut the sheets into little rectangles, peeled off the backing, and stuck it down to each block. At first I used a dry erase marker but discovered that it smudges off of the block. The next best choice was to use wet erase markers. I introduced this new Jenga game and they loved it even more! The letters didn't get smudged like chalk could and the blocks slid out easily as we played.
Tetris Jenga Learning:
Now fast forward another year and you'll find me browsing the game section at Target….what did I see? A Tetris version of Jenga! It was made of plastic which of course works with wet erase markers too. I bought one immediately and tried it out with my students. This game is especially challenging because you can't tell for sure what blocks are where within the tower. For my younger students, it was not enjoyable. I would recommend playing Tetris Jenga with upper elementary to high school students. The only other draw back is the noise this game makes when it falls! On my desk, the crash is almost too much. We've learned to play it on a carpeted floor with a small book under it to steady the tower.
Games to Play with Jenga:
Here is my list of ideas of what to write on your Jenga blocks. The sky is the limit!
- Basic math operations
- Graphing practice (write ordered pairs on blocks, place a graph next to it for players to plot points)
- Solve system of equations (write singular equations on blocks, players pull two and solve)
- Solve for a variable
- Math Vocabulary
- Sight words
- Word Families
- Rhyming words (pull a block and say a rhyming word)
- Pair with a labeling worksheet that is numbered (example: a plant worksheet with labeled parts)
- Identifying elements
- English-Foreign Language
Do you have any ideas for using Jenga? Leave your ideas here in the comments. I would love to see how you would use Jenga!
Be sure to check out the next bright idea from Donna Glynn of Kinderglynn. Click below to head over to her blog!