This is a game I learned a million years ago, that I did not make up. I don’t know where I learned it, but it was sometime during my student teaching, near the dawn of time. If you know the origin of this game, please let me know because I would love to credit it’s creator. I’ll give a quick rundown of the original game, then how I’ve tweaked and how I’m using it these days, to get more bang for my buck.
Warning: This is not an input game, which is probably why it has not made an appearance on this blogcito yet. But, it is a good, quick warm up game when this frazzled teacher needs them to be quiet for a few blessed minutes, so…here we go!
The original: Think the same to win the game
Prep: Practically none. Think of a few categories, now you’re ready to play!
To Play: Pair up students, but they can’t be sitting next to their partner. Everyone needs a partner and everyone knows who their partner is, they just need to be sitting apart. To achieve this, I use my Magic Cards to randomly pair students, announcing “Mateo y Justin son compañeros”, “Logan y Susy van a trabajar juntas”, etc. When students are assigned they Long Distance High Five (¡Chócala!) and wait until everyone is assigned their partner. (I don’t write anything on the Magic Cards during the game, I just use them to quickly assign random partners.) While I’m assigning, if I draw cards of students who sit nearby, I just make an adjustment on the fly and grab a different card. If you don’t have an even number, make the last 3 students a group. It will be fine, don’t you worry.
Give everyone scratch paper and write a category on the board, let’s say La escuela (school). Students have one minute to record every word they can think of that could be associated with the category, written in the target language. They want to write down as many words as they can before the time is up, but there’s a catch. They’re trying to think like their partner, because they only get a point for words that both have jotted down on their lists. After the minute is up, teachers writes another category on the board, then students write all the words they can associate with the new category. Repeat 3-5 times. See…told you it’s not an input game! The randomer the category, the funnier this game is…of course you can use categories that will elicit vocabulary you’ve taught, like “La escuela” but throw in a few weird ones: Things smaller than a dog, Señora Chase (but use your name instead), Things that fly, Things you shouldn’t eat, etc.
Then, after 3-5 categories, students move to sit with their partner and compare lists. For each word they both have, written in the same category, they circle it and it counts as 1 point. Obviously, the pair with the most common words wins.
Scoring is a bit different in groups of three people (because of an odd number of students): Partner A reads her list while Partner B and Partner C listen and circle any words on their own list that Partner A has. The number of circled words on Partner B’s list is the score for Partner A & B. The number of circled words on Partner C’s list is the score for Partner A & C. (So, its possible for Partner A and C to win the game, even if Partner A and B didn’t do very good)
Products, Practices and Perspectives edition:
Here’s how we’ve been playing lately, to really get them thinking about culture, in terms of products, practices and perspectives.
Prep: Copy this Product, Practices and Perspectives Notetaker. Think of a topic, now you’re ready to play!
To Play: Like in the original, pair up students with a partner not sitting nearby. Then give them a topic. Your topic can be something cultural about your target culture OR US culture…just pick something that they have some background knowledge about. Everyone together fills in the Topic and Country on the far left of the sheet. The first time we played this in Spanish 1, our first topic was Halloween, United States. They had 1 minute to record all the Products they could for Halloween (Since Spanish 1, they listed in English). Then they had 1 minute to fill in the next column, Practices: HOW do we celebrate Halloween/ What do we do? The last column is a little trickier…so it is not included in the game. After they complete the Products and Practices columns, they compare lists and count up points, like in the original, earning points for the ideas that both partners included on their sheets. THEN, Write and Discuss style, the teacher leads the class in completing the Perspectives column. When we start this at the beginning of the year, the discussion part is in English, and then the filling in the column is in Spanish:
“So, we’ve got haunted houses and Halloween decorations, what does that tell us about us? What do we like? What’s important to us? Would you say that we like to be scared?” Then teacher writes, “Nos gusta tener miedo durante el Halloween” or “Nos gusta espantar a otros durante el Halloween” which students copy onto their notetaker, and then move onto another commonality from the Products/Practices columns. “So, going to haunted houses, Halloween parties”…is that something that you typically do with your families or friends?” and so on, the teacher leads the discussion, models how to write it in comprehensible Spanish, while students copy it onto their notetaker.
Of course, this looks different in different levels. For my Spanish 4 and AP Little Darlings, They complete the first two columns in Spanish OR English, BUT, they get more points if it’s written in Spanish.
So, let’s say our topic is Día de los Muertos and Cameron writes “Skulls“. Cameron’s partner, Abbi writes “Calaveras“. When they compare lists, since they wrote the same thing (although in two different languages) they get points. Cameron earns 1 point for the team, (since it was written in English) and Abbi earns 2 points for the team (since it was written in Spanish), so Skulls/Calaveras netted 3 points and then they go onto the next common idea.
Also in Spanish 4 and AP, they work together to fill in the last column, “Perspectives”, after they tally up their points for “Products” and “Practices”. I find it helpful to give them some sentence starters to get the ball rolling:
- Valoran/ Valoramos (They/we value)
- Les/Nos importa (….is important to them/us,
- Les/Nos fascina/ gusta/ encanta (They/we are fascinated by, love, love)
To get students to wrap their brains around what is culture and what makes up culture, I find it is helpful to include US culture in this discussion, don’t only focus on what happens in other countries, talk about what we do as well. We’ve had great discussions playing this with topics like Starbucks, In n out, Birthday Parties, Back to School Shopping, etc, because once they start realizing all of these things make up our culture, we can bridge the gap into talking about the Products, Practices and Perspectives of our Target cultures.