Do you have a pile of newspapers gathering dust in the staff room, and a list of reading or numeracy learning goals not yet achieved? Before those newspapers hit the recycling pile, get them into your special education room and use games and activities to build literacy and numeracy skills.
1. Newspaper Puzzle
This is a fun activity that meets learning goals in areas such as
Cut out several articles in random shapes from some pages of the newspaper. Lay the pages out on the table and then ask the students to match the cut out shapes back into the newspapers. Once the newspapers are back together, use word attack skills to decode and discuss the stories in the paper.
2. Weather Watch
This activity works on learning goals such as:
- Building a class routine and the ability to complete tasks on a daily basis
- Using page numbers to locate information
- Using visual and text cues for information
Create a chart in the room and ask students each day to use the newspaper to locate the weather forecast for the day. Students can cut out and paste the weather information onto the chart or transfer the information to a separate page.
3. Happy or Sad?
This reading game is based on using visual cues to decide if a person shown in the newspaper is happy or sad. It focuses on the learning goals of:
- Facial observation
- Interpersonal skills
- Matching expression with emotion
In this game, students are shown pictures from a paper and are asked to use adjectives to describe how the person is feeling. They can begin with simple 'happy/sad' descriptors and then expand their skills to use more complex words. As an activity extension, try this article using classroom magazines with struggling readers to build literacy skills.
4. Pages in order
Take a page out of the newspaper and see if students are able to locate where it goes and replace it.
This works on learning goals of:
- Sequential numbering
- Hand skills and page turning
This game can be done as a 'round-the-class' game or individually.
5. Weigh It Up
This game focuses on learning goals of:
- Using weights and measures and common units of measurement
- Graphs and charts
- Understanding recycling
This game completes the newspaper tasks as students work together as a team to weigh the newspapers collected in the room and then organize them to be recycled. Students can keep a tally or make a graph of newspapers recycled over a week or a month, and they will gain an understanding of how much paper has been saved from going to landfill.
For more math games ideas, try this article of fun math games and activities.