An Interview with Our Educational Consultant
This weekend I had a chance to sit down with our Educational Consultant Chazmin Baechler to ask her a few questions about GIANT Word Winder and GIANT Math Winder. Here’s what we discussed:
We have really focused on how GWW and GMW benefit the student, how would you say GWW and GMW benefit the teacher?
I think that Giant Word Winder and Giant Math Winder are tremendous assets to teachers! For starters, the large format of the boards and the nature of the game play makes it very easy for teachers to observe their students’ learning. That makes it a great way to conduct formative assessments.
Second, the boards are designed to support a wide range of activities, from spelling and vocabulary development with GWW, to all levels of mathematics with GMW. This makes the game a really useful tool to support the existing curriculum and/or Standards that the teacher is using.
Also, and most importantly, the giant size of the boards supports movement and kinesthetic learning in the classroom WITHOUT SACRIFICING INSTRUCTIONAL TIME. This is huge! So many schools these days are forced to cut recess and/or Physical Education from their days, but kids still need to get up and move around. By using Giant Word/Math Winder in the classroom, teachers can add that movement back into the day without losing any time for instruction. Kids can move and play while they learn, which helps busy teachers maximize every minute.
What do you think people should know about GWW and GMW that maybe they don’t know?
People might look at the Giant Word Winder and Giant Math Winder boards and assume that the game play is complicated or too difficult for younger children. This is definitely not the case! The boards are completely adaptable to different ages and stages of learning, so that every learner is able to benefit from playing. Also, the gameplay is very straightforward and easy to understand, so that not a lot of time needs to be spent figuring out how to play. This allows students to get the most benefit from the educational and strategic aspects of the game.
What is your favorite age group to play GWW with and why? GMW?
Well, I’ve personally played both games with kids as young as two years old, all the way up to adults, and it’s fully adaptable for all of those different age groups. When my son was two, I would give him the chips and ask him to find certain letters with them. Now that he’s three, I have him look for all the letters in his name. He LOVES to walk around on the boards and the brightly colored chips are so compelling to little ones.
For instructional purposes, I’d say the target age for using Giant Word Winder as a tool for learning spelling would be 1st through 4th grades. These are the ages at which students are acquiring their foundation in spelling, and the game play of Giant Word Winder really reinforces all of those concepts.
For slightly older students, for whom spelling is fairly well mastered, Giant Word Winder makes an excellent resource for vocabulary instruction. The boards are numbered so that they can be arranged to support specific words being created, which is so useful for vocabulary lesson plans. For example, we’ve worked with teachers and librarians to develop lessons around Latin root words as well as Space vocabulary.
Giant Math Winder is similarly adaptable to any age group, particularly because the game focuses on a simple goal: make a true equation. When you are first grade that might look like 1 +1 = 2, and it can be made increasingly complex all the way up to college-level mathematics!
Do you think GWW or GMW could play a larger role in education than just being a game teachers let students play when there is free time? What might that larger role look like?
Absolutely! Giant Word and Math Winder are so much more versatile and useful to teachers than traditional games, for many of the reasons I mentioned previously. They can be used to conduct assessments, they can support specific curricular objectives, and they are totally adaptable to a wide range of skill levels. Additionally, the collaborative nature of the games makes them excellent resources for team building and peer-to-peer learning. And best of all: students are up and out of their seats, moving and playing while they learn! The games answer so many of the needs that educators are facing today, and do it in a fun way. A win-win for teachers and students!