Strategy games in a second grade classroom

Learning is a cognitive process involving children actively engaging in development of their own strategies. This understanding of learning became a focus of my practice when my second graders were showing-up physically for math time but not engaging mentally. It was time to try a new "game plan" for learning. After reflection on what to do, a plan was designed to introduce new games into math time. The games selected were strategy-related that would reinforce math concepts such as counting, adding, making patterns, sorting, and/or sequencing. As the year unfolded, I observed the attention level and enthusiasm for math time increasing each week as students were allowed to play the games at a math center. Math time became a favorite part of the school day, and students' ability and willingness to engage mentally during a math lesson improved dramatically. Students developed social skills that transformed us into a classroom community of learners. I became interested in knowing how this new "game" plan produced so many positive results. This is a study about what happens when games are introduced as an integral part of second grade math instruction.