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Using the Wii in the classroom

I’m sitting in the ESSDACK Technology Integration Group monthly meeting this morning.

And it’s a good day!

Adrian Howie, 4th grade teacher at South Breeze Elementary School in Newton, Kansas is sharing how he uses the Wii in the elementary classroom. Some very cool stuff and some very cool conversations!

There’s just so much we covered this morning but I’ve included below a quick overview of some of the things Adrian does with the Wii:

  • The free Wii Channel allows students to create Miis, avatars that the Wii miiuses to play games and interact with the Wii environment.
  • Adrian has his kids first create a Mii that they will use to represent themselves. He then has kids research and create Kansas and US national historical characters and share with others. During the creation process, he has students journal about their work as a way of assessing the learning.
  • He and the art teacher use the Mii Channel to help kids figure out color, perspective, etc when making their own Miis.
  • Adrian creates specific Miis and shows them to kids as writing prompts.
  • He uses the Mii Channel to teach technical writing. Kids create a Mii and then write several paragraphs that explains how they did it.  They then swap their paragraphs with a partner who must be able to recreate their original Mii.
  • He also uses the Mii Channel’s sorting feature to let kids organize by color, size, shape, etc. This helps focus on physical features that he then incorporates for teaching science & math standards.

Weather Channel:wii_weather2

  • He has kids lead daily discussions about what clothes to wear the next day during recess.
  • Kids pick a state capital and track weather data over time and create graphs and charts. Adrian then has them select a world city and track weather data over time. It really helps with kids with both math and geography.

Everybody Votes Channel:wii-channel-everybody-votes

  • This is a channel that lets kids answer a question that is open to the world or just the United States.  You can then  predict what the final answer will be. Adrian says this is great for generating conversation and incorporating predication reading strategies. He has his kids keep a journal where they must answer the posted question with several sentences of explanation. Then they must predict what the final large group answer will be and be able to justify that answer as well. Adrian models this thought process for his class by doing the actual answering on the Wii console.
  • After the final results are in, kids look at results by area and gender leading to great math and social studies conversations.

Adrian also talked a bit about how he uses the News Channel. Basically the News Channel attaches AP news stories to the geographic place much like the Weather Channel.

Adrian very quickly gave a few overviews of some of the games he uses with his kids:

  • Big Brain Academy – A great game that allows kids to solve problems, do math, imagine spatial relationships, predicting, number sense
  • Smarty Pants – Trivia Pursuit type game which allows you to set the age level. It does a great job of adapting to individual kids and their abilities by asking age appropriate questions.
  • My Word Coach – Focuses on word structure and definitions, etc.
  • Endless Ocean & African Safari – Can be used to teach habitat, species adaption, structure functions, types of animals, food chain, research, problem solving, statistics & probability, longitude & latitude, encourage writing
  • Mario Brothers Olympic Games – Tons of uses but Adrian identified 15 different math indicators using just the 100 meter race

I really didn’t need more evidence that video games are good for kids but Adrian’s experiences and ideas give me more ammo!

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Erin #

    Was a little skeptical of the idea at first, but absolutely LOVE it after reading these ideas. Would like to see more.

    January 26, 2010
    • glennw #


      So would I! I trying to think through more specific ideas for classroom teachers. The problem? Most probably don’t know anything about SEO and probably don’t want to know. So the whole connection gets lost. Maybe this is more for me!

      But I do like how the idea of instruction / curriculum and SEO principles seem to have some sort of Unified Theory.


      January 27, 2010
  2. These are some neat ideas for using the Wii. Another teacher and I have been using the Wii in the classroom now for several months and been trying to document many of the ways which we use it as well as the games and programs which we have found beneficial. I think this platform is getting more and more popular and gives the teacher a chance to engage the students in a completely different way then usual. Please feel free to check out my blog with our latest notes!

    May 9, 2010
    • glennw #


      Thanks for the post! I just enjoyed a quick browse through of your stuff – will need to go back for a deeper look, some great ideas and suggestions. I will be sure to send folks your way to get an idea of how the Wii can be implemented into classroom instruction. Am adding your RSS feed as we speak!

      Thanks again!


      May 9, 2010
  3. Meaghan #

    I have also been using the Wii in my classroom for multiple subjects and would love to see if we can get something started where teachers collaborate on this resource. I have not used the Wii in the above contexts but have focused more on the DPA, math and language parts of Wii games. I like the idea of using the Wii channels and creative writing using Mii characters….

    September 20, 2010
    • glennw #

      I think there are ways to use the Wii (and video games in general) that we haven’t even thought of yet. Teachers will always find creative ways to connect kids with content! I really like the idea of using video games as writing prompts and story starters.

      Thanks for the comment!


      September 21, 2010
  4. Wow, this was written quite a while ago! lol, that’s how out of it I’ve been raising little twins. Well, we’ve finally stepped into “modern times” and got a Wii. I wanted to balance out the Mario love with some great games for learning and yours is the first place I checked out. You are very creative, love the inspiration. Thank you! I hope to put some Wii related stuff at my site later, maybe mention your article. Just so much “to do” often. Take care.

    January 28, 2012
    • glennw #

      Twins are about the best excuse I can think of for not surfing the web! Congrats on both the kids AND getting back out in the world. Lots of things that educators are doing with the Wii.

      Good luck!


      January 28, 2012
      • lol on “getting back out in the world.” That about sums it up! Thank you! 🙂

        January 30, 2012
  5. Amy #

    I’ve been using the Wii in my classroom for 4 years in my math and science classes and didn’t even THINK of some of the things mentioned on this blog! Thanks for sparking some ideas in my head!! 🙂

    February 3, 2012
    • glennw #

      Cool! I’m glad you found some useful stuff. Curious what other ideas you have to share – how have you used the Wii as part of math instruction? Maybe it could be adapted to social studies!


      February 3, 2012

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