Today I had my last week with the game group from 1st term. This group of 11 children have had 8 weeks or so of games with me, starting to play a lot of the games independently. Last week, they taught a range of games to younger children; from next week, they will be teaching their peers.
The school has a recess break from 2 until 2:30, then I game with the kids from 2:30 until about 3:25 or so, when they pack up for the day.
Today, as usual, I arrived at 2. Bigster and one of her friends were in the classroom – they often spend recess time helping me set up. Today, though, four of the boys were also in the classroom – they had planned last week that they would play Pandemic, and they wanted to get an early start. Actually, only 3 of them were in the group; the fourth, a friend of Biggie’s since she was a baby, had just missed out on joining the group but had snuck in this week (and had helped us teach the younger kids last week).
They got set up and taught the new boy how to play, while Bigster and her friend played a few rounds of Blink. Once the bell rang, the rest of the group came in. First thing I heard was “Oh! I want to play Pandemic again!” – and then “Great! The Settlers of Catan, let’s play that!” – so, with a couple of kids missing today, I had a group playing Pandemic, another group playing Settlers, and Bigster and her friend playing a couple of shorter kids’ games as well as Cartagena.
The cooking group finished early, and wandered over to look at the enticing display of the games that school has bought. A couple of those went off to be played, then Pandemic finished with a loss and a couple of boys from the cooking group joined in a big game of Apples to Apples: Kids!
The best thing about today was seeing the children teaching one another to play reasonably complex games, and seeing the other kids’ enthusiasm to join in and learn some of the games.
Next week I’ll get a new group of kids, but any of this group who would like to stay will be welcome to – so the group could reach 20+ students. Our aims will be to get the kids teaching one another to play games, while I teach a small group to play something new.
And my mission is to play 10 days in Asia, Scotland Yard and Through the Desert again, so I can teach any of those next week as well.
Meanwhile, I have a meeting with a teacher on Monday night to talk about how we get these games into use throughout the school. She’s very keen, and has been taking games home to try out/learn. If anyone has suggestions or advice on how we do this, they’d be very welcome; I think that a priority has to be to introduce them to staff – even the people who don’t like games will find something that they enjoy.