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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Say Anything Game - Creativity exercise for the classroom

Say Anything is a great party game from North Star Games.  The company was founded by my friend Dominic Crapuchettes.  Dominic is a game design genius, seriously.  He tells stories about how a game he made in junior high was so popular among students that teachers had to ban it.

But years later, I am thrilled that he gave me permission to create this flipchart adapted for the classroom based on Say Anything.  It makes a very fun exercise for creativity.  It's simple, imaginative and the students will have a lot of laughs.  

Like my other flipcharts and games based on creativity exercises, it is easily adapted to different needs including any content area.  One advantage of this one, though, is that it is so easy to play even younger students can enjoy it.

I have the rules, with clarifications and possible variations below.  A video explanation is at the end of the post.  Here are some related links of interest though:

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These flipcharts from North Star Games have been popular. If you find them (or any other resources on the blog) useful, please consider donating $1 to $3.  Any money I receive this way will be used in my district to purchase resources for technology integration. I and my students greatly appreciate your support!  I would love to hear how you use the resources too.


How to play the game in class:  (Most of this information is in the flipchart, but additional notes are in bold.)

In the actual party game, one player is the judge each round and a "good" answer is determined by this judge.  In the classroom game the class votes for the best answer.  Three to five students compete as contestants much like a game show setting.

1)  Choose three to five students to be the contestants.  They should sit at the front of the classroom.  Each will need a pencil and sheet of paper.  Each contestant must put his or her name on the paper.  All the other students need an Expressions or Votes device.  Those students can also use a sheet of paper to write possible answers or to keep their points.

2)  Reveal the current question slide and give the contestants a minute or two to write their answers to it. They should try to give an answer that the most students will like.  Answers are turned into the teacher.

  • You can decide how rigid you want to be on a time limit for answers.  
  • Sometimes it takes a round or two for some students to feel comfortable just taking a chance with an answer.  You might want to read a couple questions ahead of time and have everyone practice.
  • Students who aren't contestants can still write down answers.  You might even require this to be turned in after the game just to keep them involved. 

3)  In random order, read each answer from the contestants.  A summary of the answer can be written on the cards slide (accessed by clicking Next on the question slide.)  The class should not know who wrote which answer.  You might want to have a couple students from the class read their answers as well, if they think they have a particularly clever or funny one.

4)  Have the class vote on their favorite answer using Expressions or Votes.  When finished, determine each contestant's score.  Points are given based on the percent of the class that picked their answer.  Round to the nearest 10th, so a percent of 16.6 would earn 20 points.  Record the score on the students' papers first, then click the Score button.  Record scores on that slide so the class can see who is winning.  The non-contestants can keep points as well.  Any student who voted for the answer that received the most or second most votes scores one point.  This score is done on their honor and is mostly for fun.  It can help encourage everyone to vote for answers they really think are best.

5)  Click the button at the bottom of the Score page to access the next question.  Repeat steps 2 - 3 above until four questions have been completed.  The player with the most points wins!  In case of a tie, all tied players win.

Additional Notes:

  • I chose to limit this game to only four rounds because that seemed to be best for how long it worked in my classes.  You can play again immediately if students are up for it.  I prefer to stop too soon rather than too late.
  • This activity can be used in other ways besides the game show format. 1)  A question can be given at the end of class and the next day all students can submit answers.  When the teacher has a chance, he or she can narrow the pool down to five good answers and the class can vote on the best.    2)  Likewise in the game show format, a teacher might choose to just do one question at the end of class and carry the game out over a period of time.
  • Note that near the end of the flipchart I included several other questions from the family edition of Say Anything.  You can substitute any of the four questions from those I listed or you can use those to create appropriate questions for your class.  Let the students help!
  • Of course, this game will be best if adapted to the unique needs of your content and school.  Think of questions that fit the subject area or include references to people and places in the school or community.
Here's a video explanation of how to play.  This was my first attempt at using Explain Everything and serves as a demo for that iPad app:

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