Friday, April 22, 2022

13 Sheep in the classroom

 I had the opportunity to teach a fifth grade class 13 Sheep and run through a couple games of it with them. And I took that opportunity because I love teaching games :)

Honestly, unless it’s built into the syllabus, there’s not much call for teaching board games as a substitute teacher. Keeping the kids focused and on task is the job. And if games get to be on the lesson plan, they need to be for education, not distraction. 

Trust me, I haven’t seen a class yet that needs help being distracted.

13 Sheep is one of the simplest Roll and Write games that I know of that I still think offers interesting choices. It also follows the Take it Easy paradigm of everyone doing their own thing on their own board. That meant I could have an entire class room playing the same game at the same time.

While I supplied the game and the teaching, the teacher who I was helping supplied the structure. In addition to critical thinking, which 13 Sheep definitely has going on, he wanted the kids to look at emergent behavior. Really, more their own behavior than anything else :)

This involved having them examine the game sheet before telling them any of the rules. This also involved playing more than one game (which wasn’t hard, even under the circumstances) and unpacking what they learned from each game.

Honestly, I probably learned more than the kids from the experience. Obviously, there are some games that have an obvious educational slant. The 10 Days series reaching geography as one obvious example. However, I already thought that using games to help critical thinking and judgement was a good idea. And this one session helped me consider how to approach that.

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