Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tips for using the games and activities

  • My games are posted here at Promethean Planet.
  • Time is precious in most courses, so consider how to break the activity or game up into short pieces. For example, the games that pit contestants against each other can be played one round or even one player's turn per day for just minutes at the start or end of the class period. It's always better to leave students wanting more and looking forward to the next play rather than extending a game beyond its welcome in one long session.
  • All games and activities are loosely based on the subjects and content specified at the site. I expect teachers will tweak them by changing words or other content in the games. All rules are open to change as well so that they fit your needs. They're best viewed as starting points for activities. Please let me know if you come up with some great variations!
  • Focus on the thinking and the possible discussion that can emerge from the games. There are a lot of ways the competition aspects can break down, so make sure the students know that the emphasis is on fun and learning. Cutthroat competition can turn into cheating and hurt feelings quite easily.
  • Most of my games posted at Promethean Planet can be useful even if you have minimal equipment. Usually a projector connected to a computer is enough. You'll need to download ActivInpsire and install it as the Personal Edition (for free) and you'll be able to take advantage of many features of my games. With a little creativity you can make them work even if students do not have response devices to vote with.
Also, since I'm posting general information, I should mention that not every activity and game that I post has been played with students in the exact form that I posted online. I used games in the classroom when I taught for 13 years, I ran our high school game club and designed party games that are sold worldwide. I have a good feel for what students will enjoy and what will be useful for discussion and assessment. Still, my current position doesn't allow me to test every flipchart activity fully. They are always based on variations of things I have used in the classroom and I do take opportunities to test them (or my colleagues test them) whenever possible.

Consequently, I value any feedback you might have on what works, what doesn't and what could work better. I'd love to partner up with any educators to create quality games, so feel free to send ideas and input my way!

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