Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Game On!

It's that time of year...almost at the end of the term, finished with all our units and not wanting to start anything new, with a few days left to fill up with fun, engaging, learning activities. Our class has resorted to playing opted to demonstrate our skills with games. We went on an outing to pick some new games since our current stock was getting a bit boring. Uno and Scene It will remain among our favorites but we have really enjoyed playing our new finds.

1. Apples to Apples, Jr.: This a great game for kids who are able to make some level of choice, even if it's random. I love the vocabulary development we can do with this game as well. It would be very easy to adapt the game with visual cues by creating and attaching matching pictures using the icon-making program of your choice to the red apple cards. Green apple cards could be a bit more challenging as they are more abstract concepts. However, this box is pretty well out-of-the-box ready for most players if they have partners.

2. Imaginiff: This is another game we have had a lot of fun with. In this one everyone answers a question like: "Imagine if Alicia were a zoo animal. What kind of zoo animal would she be?" There are choices and you throw out a number card that matches your choice. Those who won the vote get to move forward on the game board. This game incorporates both vocabulary development and math (more/less, numerals, counting) and is a lot of fun besides. And it's another one that is pretty well out-of-the-box ready for most players with partners if needed.

3. Whoonu: I love Cranium games and this one is as high quality as the rest. And it is one that ALL of my students can play, unlike the Cranium games that require sketching or sculpting or acting things out. This game is all about favorite things. One player is "it," also known as the Whoozit. Everyone else is dealt four cards and picks what they think the Whoozit's favorite thing will be from their cards. The Whoozit then reviews the choices and places them in order from least to most favorite. Points are scored with tokens. The best thing about this game, besides total involvement from everyone including my "random guessers" is that the game moves really fast.

4. Sort It Out!: This is another game I really like as teacher for its academic possibilities. Unfortunately my students weren't as thrilled with it the one time we played it, I think because it took too long and was dealing with concepts they know nothing about. In this game you are given a topic such as "Sort these things by length" then choices like "average female sea lion, anaconda, giant salamandar, yardstick, bootlace worm." You then arrange matching colored tiles in order and compare your answers to the answer card. This game holds lots of potential for my gang, but I think I need to 1. go through the cards to find things they understand;  2. modify questions to match up with familiar concepts; and 3. play with only 2-3 students at a time (we played with the whole class and had to wait way too long for everyone to make their choices so the kids kept losing interest).

If you have favorite board or card games, especially for age-neutral or for older students, please share in the comments. I would love to see what others are playing.

Note: Neither Amazon.com nor the publishers of this game endorsed this post. They most likely don't even know I exist. My opinions are simply that, opinions. Take 'em or leave 'em.