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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 7th, 2011, 03:59 am
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Default Board games in large classes

Anyone have experiences of this?

I'd just spent a fair amount of time on creating a board game on Powerpoint: Snakes and Ladders. My class is usually around 60 students, aged 12-14, and I split them into 4 teams.

When it is their turn, the team throws a dice, and move on the board accordingly. When they hit a snake, they go down a few blocks; a ladder, they go up.

They then answer an advice question (e.g. I'm always late for school, what should I do?), and then it's the next team's go.

Usually games like this go down a treat in class. However, today it went down terribly. Kids were bored, and I had a hard time keeping them quiet and concentrating.

Any ideas why?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 7th, 2011, 07:12 pm
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

Was there any other reason that the kids might have been uninterested? I know I have to deal with the Monday blues, and I have the most difficulty with classes right before lunch. Also, did you have only 4 teams with 60 students, or did you have multiple games with 4 teams each? My biggest class is 40 students, and I have better luck with smaller group or pair work.

I have been using my co-workers Snakes and Ladders as a review game with 9-12yo's, and it's gone over well. Here's how I did it:

*Split the class into groups of 6 or less.
*On the board there are 100 spaces, some occupied by letters A-G and assigned a specific question or task.
*If a student lands on a letter, they have to do as instructed.

The board is complicated enough that it takes time to win (15 minutes is fast), but the different tasks can be silly and distracting enough to keep them interested.

Humor helps a lot in my older classes. You can encourage your students to give silly answers ("You should sleep at school.") I had to teach a rather dull telephone conversation over 3 lessons, and I let the kids pretend to be fictional characters or famous celebrities in exotic locations. It got everyone talking.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 8th, 2011, 12:21 am
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

I look at it differently. When my students play board games, I divide the class into groups of 4. Each group of 4 plays independently. This method works very well for adults.
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Unread Mar 8th, 2011, 01:29 am
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

I do the same, dividing my classes up into groups of 4. I just use plain printable board games, not snakes and ladders. You may need to model how to play and certainly make sure they understand the speaking tasks.

That means you'd have a lot of groups to walk around and monitor. You may find a few hot and cold pockets where some are really into it and others aren't. It could be the personalities of the students. It could be a close game that makes everyone excited, or if it seems hopeless they may give up. Like eaturchees said, it could have been that they were hungry or just yelled at in the previous class.
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Unread Mar 8th, 2011, 11:28 pm
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

Thanks to all for your responses.

eaturcheese- regarding motivation, I had 4 classes of varying ability at various times during the day. Yes it was Monday, but this had never had such a negative impact before. It was very strange.

Also, I always put celebrities in and add a bit of humour as there's nothing worse than a boring teacher! I changed nothing compared to my usual lessons. I think the thing that cheesed me off most was that we did Typhoon at the end of the last semester and it worked a treat- the kids loved it, and I had teachers coming up afterwards asking me if they could steal my Powerpoint slides.

I had 60 students into 4 teams, with one game. I find that this is much easier to control (and remember!) and easier to do practically, as I teach 19 different classes in a week (imagine the paperwork every week!).

Mesmark- as above, I'd rather not use printable games as due to logistical reasons. Also, I've no idea how I'd get 15-20 kids on each team interested x4!

Anyway, I think I realised why the classes weren't so excited (my crankiness due to illness notwithstanding!)- 1) it was too long and 2) there was no suspense with throwing the dice

1) 40 mins of playing the same game would get very boring for anyone. I think I overestimated how fun I thought this would be
2) I made the kids answer the questions, then whoever answered could come up to the front and throw the dice. With students coming to the front, there was much more suspense, and also kids would get bored if they threw the dice first, then answered the question.

Thanks for your help everyone- I find that there's nothing worse than a lesson that falls flat on its face!
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Unread Mar 9th, 2011, 06:55 pm
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

Quote:
Quote tomhume89 View Post
Thanks for your help everyone- I find that there's nothing worse than a lesson that falls flat on its face!
Yeah, a big bummer when that happens but you live and learn. The future classes will be better for it!
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Unread May 11th, 2011, 06:33 am
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

Great board games - thanks.
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Unread Jun 2nd, 2011, 09:41 am
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

That sounds like a good game! You can never tell what the mood of the class is going to be. If one kids gets into it usually the class will follow. I make a "Candyland" type game board and write in questions appropriate to the material we are covering that week. The class usually likes it for about 10 minutes. I bet if you tried your board game on another day, or with another class, they would like it...
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 18th, 2011, 01:34 pm
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

I use Chutes and Ladders a lot with my adult classes to review verb tenses. However, I keep each group to a max of 4 and cut the board to 50 squares instead of 100 (makes for a faster game). I also make moving a challenge. When a student throws a dice or spins, they have to draw a card and identify the verb tense. Then, if they land at the foot of a ladder or the top of a chute, they have to draw another card to climb the ladder or to keep from going down the chute.

Of course, this means that I have to make cards for them to draw, but that is rather simple and I can reuse them many times. I also make a group of cards (on different colored paper to tell them apart) where they are told the verb tense, given a verb and required to make a sentence. I often combine the cards, using one for the "move" and the other for the chutes/ladders. It is simple to make the cards more or less difficult depending on the level of the students/class. I hope this helps!
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Unread Aug 22nd, 2011, 09:39 pm
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Default Re: Board games in large classes

One thing that's pretty important to understand when teaching older kids (around 10+) is that they will tire of the same game much faster than younger students. Sometimes you might only be able to play a game a few times before your students are sick of it (tho the first few times your students will thoroughly enjoy it!).

I do agree with the others tho...in a situation like this (with so many students!) I would use printable board games and mainly hover around as a monitor.

Also, if you sign up for my newsletter on my site below (in my signature) you can download two free interactive games. There are other tools too that you might find useful (a time bomb, dice, drawing tool).

Good luck with your lessons tho with so many teams (four) I know I would be feeling bored. When I was younger I had a monopoly game on pc. Although it was based on Star Wars, I was really uninterested after a little while due to having to wait for my turn. If you could make the experience more interactive for students on the opposing teams...your game might go off better. Maybe offer a way for students to steal turns or answer a missed question.
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