Friday, May 24, 2024

13 Sheep keeps working in the classroom

 Using board games in the classroom is one of my dreams but it’s one that rarely pans out. In part because I want to use gamer games but also because time is never in your side. Often, ten to twenty minutes is what you have to teach AND play a game.

Despite that, I have been able to bring games occasionally into the classroom this last year. I’ve stuck to Roll and Writes since it’s easier to make them for a group and multi-player solitaire works well in a classroom environment. When time is limited, everyone playing at the same time is a big deal.

I figured Blankout would work well, particularly for younger children. It’s incredibly simple, possibly one of the most basic Roll and Writes I have seen. While I feel it’s too easy to have ties, I felt that I’m going for critical thinking in the classroom, not competition. 

However, kids didn’t take to Blankout. Maybe it was too simple or possibly the fact that is 100% abstract. There wasn’t an in for them.

So I went back to my old standard 13 Sheep. I know I write about 13 Sheep all the time but I haven’t found a game in its niche that does a better job. And believe me; I’ve looked and I’m still looking. Just because I love a game doesn’t mean I don’t look for the next step.

13 Sheep is a very simple game that only takes five minutes to play and only uses one die. Normally, a roll and write that only uses one die is a red flag but it works for 13 Sheep. (Waypoints from Post Mark games is another exception to that rule)

More than that, the theme of fencing in sheep makes the game make sense. Kids latched into that and the game clicked. I dig abstract strategy games but theme is not just making a game look pretty. Theme helps games make sense and that’s a big deal in the classroom.

I think, if I really to get heavy games in the school setting, I’d need to get run or support an afterschool game club. However, I am glad that 13 Sheep has given me a tool that is fun but still encourages critical thinking.

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