Turn Your Unit into a Game Board!

What if your next unit were self-grading and had students clamoring to work ahead?

Yep, you read that right. Your next unit, whether it's skills or facts, could be presented to students in a visible trail of learning that compels them to keep moving forward. In fact, in our classroom, we're doing a game board system for GRAMMAR, and students are doing above the minimum to compete, succeed, and be creative.

I've been slowly improving this system for five years in my classroom, and it has manifested into a really cool grammar program for my seventh and eighth graders.

Now, I'm finally ready to share it with you.
What madness is this?
As any quick Google or Edutopia search will tell you, game-based learning is hot right now. A lot of people are looking at different styles of gaming to think about how we can hack the brain's motivation, reward, and learning cycles to help our students make engaged progress.

My take on gaming is a basic one, at least for now, but it works.

The game board I created is basically the full cycle of learning in disguise: introduce new information, practice, formative assessment, respond to assessment, and repeat... until a final summative assessment happens at the end of the unit or academic term.

...But when presented in the game board, suddenly all this learning isn't just a pile of work anymore - it's a compelling trail that makes students say things like "Challenge accepted!"

Example 1: Grammar
When I teach The Grammar House Cup, students follow a learning sequence for each grammar topic, gathering "points" for their houses along the way. (Learn more in this blog post.)

Example 2: Essay Writing
What if you sequenced your "game board" to teach all the parts of an essay, alternating between instruction and writing? The game board could have built-in checkpoints so that you are giving rough draft feedback (OR actually grading the essay pieces) as you go!

It also opens up self-paced learning and a writing workshop format.

Get the EDITABLE templates!
I hope you've been inspired to think of options for how you could reframe or reformat your teaching and learning sequence! Check out my game board download on Teachers Pay Teachers if you want to try a game board program out for yourself!

What do you think of this game board madness? 
Tell me in the comments below!


  1. Very cool idea! I love this idea for essays, like you explained in your video.

  2. Love it!!! My mind is churning away with ideas!!!

  3. Love this, Sara! Are you going to put the grammar review worksheets you use on your TPT? I would love to be able to use them.

  4. I love this idea! I will try this in my math classes. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Outstanding way to learn1 Thank you for your hard work on this way to teach! Love it!

  6. What do you currently use to create your flipped videos? Thank you!

    1. I mostly make Google Slides presentations and use Screencastomatic to narrate over them. :)

  7. This is so fun! I absolutely love this idea and I can't wait to use it in my future classroom. :)

  8. Love this! Thanks for sharing! I'm interested in using this format and making it digital, maybe with a Google Slides or a combo of Google Drawings + Sites. Have you looked at doing this digitally? If so, how has your process changed/stayed the same? Any tips?

  9. I love the idea of trying this so I just bought your pack on Teachers Pay Teachers.... I had a specific question though.... How do you 'quiz' essay writing? Your checkpoints have quizzes on them and I totally get it for grammar but I don't really know how to adapt for doing an essay....