I have found that friendly competition can go a long way in the classroom when you want to keep students engaged in what you’re doing. I usually bribe the first through third place winners with a little extra credit or if they’re in an Economics class they get “Dal Bucks”. The trick is to get them to play along and teach them at the same time or afterwards through a debriefing. I sometimes play a game and have student spotters tell me whose hand is up first so that that person/team can be the first to answer. Students have to really be paying attention if they are to get their hand up first. Of course if they’re wrong they lose points, so it’s not smart to raise your hand if you really aren’t sure of the answer. I like to review for tests with a type of Jeopardy game that students have to also read the answer/question before they answer.
I love to see students laughing and learning at the same time. It’s all right to hear a little noise in your classroom when they’re playing a game. It’s also all right if they move their desks around. Learning can be fun. It doesn’t have to be fun all the time of course. I lecture, give assignments, give tests, and give quizzes as much as most other teachers. I have to remind students that learning is an active verb and isn’t something that’s done to them.