One of the foundational tenets of my school is to make learning game-like. While that can look like many different things, in some cases, it involves playing actual games. So last week, I rolled out a game that I designed. I’ve put a lot of effort into creating it, and the game itself has gone through a couple iterations. The kids have been involved in the creation process, and I was excited to show them the second trial. I had used their feedback to modify the game, and had medium hopes for success. I really wanted to encourage lively discussion about theme and textual evidence (which is the whole point of this game) and also encourage fun. Watching people have fun is great.
After they played, I had my students reflect on the game, making comments and suggestions based on their experience. The game itself was a pretty good success, and I got some helpful feedback, but that was not my One Good Thing about the class. The best part was watching the fun and hearing about it. On one of my students’ papers, she gave the game a very high “fun” rating. Surprisingly, though, she attributed the level of fun to the people at her table who she played with – people who, in any other circumstance at school, she would likely not talk to.