As the school year winds down, and teaching ends, there are those of the mindset that we must “teach ’til the end” and those that believe “we are all done!”.
I’m in the camp of “WE ARE ALL DONE!”
Grades have already been submitted and students are already leaving to go on vacation.
So, with my remaining 7th graders, I played wink murder. I remember playing a variation of this game as a child, myself. 😉 BUT, what I quickly realized after we spent an ENTIRE 75-minute class playing this…
My students were problem solving, thinking critically, collaborating, and, of course, having a TON of FUN.
And, so was I! It was such a great way to spend time with them on our last day together. PLUS, it helped me to really see who they are.
Thus, my current topic – When teaching ends, learning begins.
When we stop teaching our content, other teaching begins.
During my “play time”, it REALLY hit me. When we stop pushing content and take a breather, other kinds of learning CAN happen. I was shocked at how differently my students thought during our game. It was so apparent that they COULD think in different ways, they COULD problem solve. Shoot, they were trying to beat me, the master, at so many different aspects of the game:
- Theater: our death scenes after being winked at
- Strategy: managing to “kill” every other player before they figure out the winker
- Hypothesis: who is the real “killer”?
to name a few. All of which, you know I crushed it! 😉
What else can we garner from games?
The game, which we played NUMEROUS times always had a slightly different experience depending on who the winker was. In a way, it showcased each students’ personality. And, it made me really think that next year I’m going to take a day to play games with my students to foster community, get to know them, understand their logic, and have fun with them.
But, I digress. I think that with these activities (alright, they’re games) we are able to teach and model for our students different character education traits – like, not winking when you’re not the “killer” or “dying” when nobody winked at you. It’s during these less formal lessons that students feel more at ease and are able to really show their skills and talents.
When you get to know (and see) some of your students’ non-academic skills and talents, it is so much easier to tap into those during your regular lessons.
Now, there are many theater games to play in classes that you can use to teach those “other” things that we also have to fit in somewhere. You know, things like, character education, communication skills, social/emotional skills, etc… So, I’ve put together a quick list of websites that offer great options for you. I like to use quick games to build community, perspective, and the like, toward the last 15 minutes of random classes throughout the year. Especially those times when you can just tell the students are NOT going to be productive. Here are a few:
Your challenge: Find ONE game that you want to play with your students and drop it in the comments below. Make sure you decide when and how you are going to incorporate it!
Until next time,
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