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Using Tabletop Games In-Person in a Socially Distanced Classroom

Episode Overview

In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin shares his experience with using tabletop games in person this past summer. He talks about different games he has used and tips for implementing them and keeping students distanced.

  • Episode Topics (timestamps are for podcast episode | video time stamps are available on YouTube)
    • Board Gaming with Education - Board Gaming with Education Webstore
    • Tip #1: Check out party games! - 4:02
    • Tip #2: Personal Whiteboards - 8:06
    • Tip #3: Connect Your Phone Camera to Your Computer to Project the Board - 13:41
    • Tip #4: Check out roll and write games - 17:58
    • Tip #5: Go outside - 19:20

Games/Books from this Episode [Links include games in our Board Gaming with Education Store or Amazon affiliate links]:

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs "Soul Train" and "Retro Gamer" for our Sponsorship and Interview Segments. These songs can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of "Getting it Done" for our Game Segment.

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Using Tabletop Games In-Person in a Socially Distanced Classroom - 146

Transcript automated and provided by otter.ai. [Using this link helps us continue to use this transcription service for future episodes.] Disclaimer: This is an automated transcript and may have errors in grammar, wording, and/or word choice.

Dustin Staats 0:00
Welcome to the show Board Gaming with Education. Today we are going to talk about some games I use this past summer to teach in a socially distance classroom. So stick around, we'll get into that in just a minute.

Board Gaming with Education 0:15
Board Gaming with Education, a podcast for anyone curious about how games and education mix, we explore various topics like game based learning, gamification, and board games, and the impacts they have on learning. here's your host, Dustin Staats.

Dustin Staats 0:33
We jump into this conversation I want to mention every game I mentioned, you will be able to find some links below whether that's in the show notes. If you're listening on the podcast, or here on YouTube, you can check out that links below at Board Gaming with Education, we're really all about leveraging the power of play through tabletop games, we really believe in this mission. So again, if you're interested in picking up any of these games, you can check them out below. And we're here to help you leverage these games for your learning environments. So if you have any questions, you can always reach out to me podcast at Board Gaming with Education comm or our website games at Board Gaming with Education calm. Alright, let's get into this chat. So let's get into this chat. The first thing, I want to go over some context for sharing these games, the first thing I'm going to do is share kind of a list of all the games I used. And I'm not going to go over how to play them, there's plenty of how to play videos on YouTube, you can search the game title and how to play. sure you'll find a video some of them have several how to play videos. But I will share a kind of an overview of how the game plays to give you some context on how I used it in my classroom. And again, if you are interested in these games, I'm happy to sit down with you and teach you a little bit of how to play or talk about how you might use it for your learning environment. Also, my learning environment this past summer. So I've been teaching I taught at this school in the spring. And I'm teaching this summer doing similar things a little bit different this summer. But doing something similar in the spring where I was teaching a game or a course titled among us, human behavior in games are among us games in human behavior. And this summer, I'm just teaching a course titled fun with board games. So learning is definitely something I've used because I'm a teacher, and I like to tie and learning as much as possible. But over the spring, it was definitely tied into every game we used this summer, it's a little bit more laid back a little bit more relaxed, but we're still tying in some learning. Another thing is, so thankfully, there's been a lot of funding for schools because of the pandemic. And fortunately, the pandemic has been the catalyst for that funding. And I really hope that we're able to keep up some of its funding going forward for schools, I know a lot of schools really need it, especially over the next couple years. So there's been a big focus on social emotional learning, especially at the school at Matt. So really creating a space for students to feel more a part of a community opportunity to build relationships among other peers and feel a part of the school culture. So that's really what I have been teaching this past spring and summer and been teaching in an enrichment program. So it's after school program, and been using tabletop games in these classes. So over the spring, my class was about 16 students, I'm not going to really talk about the spring classes because I taught that remote. But this summer, we had a much smaller class size for the first class was five students. The second class, we have 16 enrolled, and I have about 10 per class. I'll be teaching my third class this week. So I'm halfway through this summer program. And the students, our high school students, so ninth grade two, I don't think I have any seniors. So I think the oldest are going into their junior year in the class is two hours long. So we don't, we don't really have a time crunch. Like some of us or some other teachers, you might have the time crunch in your classroom, especially if you're teaching in that formal classroom environment during the school day. So if my students are really enjoying a game in class, I let them play it. I don't really cut off the game to go into the learning especially because that's not entirely the focus of the course this summer. It's really just creating the space for the students, especially because we had a larger enrollment of freshmen for the second course this summer. So just kind of helping students acclimate to the new environment, the new school, getting to know their classmates. I mean, we even had some students so I talked to some students this summer and they are going to be sophomores and this was their first really their first week on campus. So that is really been the focus kind of this summer. So that's the context of my classroom, I'm going to go into enlist some games I use just this summer. So these are just games I've used in person and a socially distance classroom this summer. So far, I have two more classes left. But I think we probably won't add any new games. The last class I like to do free play for part of the class. So maybe some students might choose some different games that we haven't played. But I'm going to go into that list right now. I'm just going to read off the list because I have I have a lot. Again, we have two hours. So we were able to kind of tackle a lot of games, we played at least probably two games per class. Some classes were able to squeeze in three. Alright, so here's the lesson. And this is no particular order. They're just games that I remember us playing, I'd throw it on the list. And then I went back and check to see if I missed any so the first one wavelength. Second, just one fake artist goes to New York, monstrosity, floor plan werewolf where words you think you know me to truth and a lie. So that's not really board game. But I love using that game as a introductory icebreaker. Dixit trap words, NaVi, and super fight. So hopefully, the games, I added some graphics in those game titles popped up here, either on one of these corners. Again, you can check out those games below. So let's go into some tips. One in how I use these games, and for what context and some kind of technical tip.

Tip number one, use party games. Okay, so I've talked about this a few times, just in general, why party games are great games and why they use a great game mechanics for the classroom. They're quick, right there? Well, I mean, some games can be can be longer if they're a party game, but usually they're quick to explain. Usually, they play fairly quickly. And usually, they have a lot of players. So you can have a larger player account. There's also some leeway and modifications. And when you can end games as well, when it comes party games, you don't need to play the entire game. Also a lot of party games. I mean, one game, you think you know, me that's about playing a card, and you give it to another player. So it might say I think you prefer ice cream, or I think you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream, you give it to another player, they have to guess about you whether you prefer chocolate or vanilla and you score point that way. But technically, you can play that game without points, you can play it just for a certain number of rounds. So that's why party games are great. Now, going into a socially distance classroom. They're also awesome, because usually, with party games, you don't have to necessarily gather around a table, you can play them up here, right, you don't have to look down at a table you're playing with the players around the table. Most party games, not all. So that gives you the opportunity to really have students not too close and further away. Um, so that's my first tip. If you're looking for games in your classroom party games, I think probably 80% of the games that I listed are party style games. So that's my first tip. Let's get into the next tip.

All right, the second game tip is more of a tool. I love these just for as a classroom teaching tool in general, our individual whiteboards. So I was able to get these halfway through the first course. But the second course that we started with them, and that's going to be something I give students every class one because of my learning environment, their students coming to class, and it's an after school program. They don't always come with pens and pencils and notebooks and paper. They're not always super prepared. So having these just notebooks are not the notebooks, the whiteboards with the markers, having those available for students. So at least they have something to write on. It's a low stress, low expectations for them to come to class again, because there's really that focus for my particular learning environment, on that social emotional learning aspect of the school community, the culture, getting to know their peers, getting to know the campus, feeling comfortable on campus. So that is why I really like giving them the whiteboards for that now looking at using these whiteboards for games, you can use them for some games that are specific for drawing games, for example, I use this monstrosity to teach memory. And in that game, essentially you get a monster card, I put one up here, and you have to 30 seconds to memorize the card. You have to put the card down all you can pause it for 30 seconds to try to memorize this card and then put it down. And then you describe that card to the other players. So the monster card if you're watching or if you're listening on the podcast, very crazy looking monsters. They have like weird tails, weird eyes. They look like different animals sometimes. So you have two minutes to describe this monster to the other players. And you essentially score points for how closely you are how well you remember it to look like and how Well, you communicate that to other players. Now there are some other nuances in the points there. But again, going back to those whiteboards, I really like using those whiteboards because you can show those monsters up big visual aid for other students, you don't need to be again around a table, you can just hold up your whiteboard. I also use this the whiteboards for fake artists goes to New York, essentially, in that game, you have one person who is a fake artist, which means all the other players are drawing something together, but the fake artist doesn't know what you're drawing. So when you pass around this whiteboard, everyone draws one line, and you add to the piece of art. So it's really cool, because at the end, I can show up the whiteboard. All the players have different colored markers showed the whiteboard, I asked all the players to hold up their whiteboard, or their white on their whiteboard marker. And they look around the classroom. They look at the cool drawing of the whiteboard. They're able to compare the colors the players, and then they try to figure out who is not sure what we're drawing. What line did they make online makes no sense to the drawing. So I like to use those whiteboards for games that require it. But also I like to use the whiteboards to allow students to take notes for different games. So we played superfight. I use this game to talk about persuasion talk about ethos, pathos, and logos, which is if you're not familiar with those three components of persuasion, pathos is passion or emotion. Logos is logic. And ethos is establishing credibility. So I will use superfight. On a side note, I've used snake oil as well, those are both great games for using this our time in this learning outcome. If you're teaching persuasion, whether it's for writing class, or speech or advertising, really excellent games for this and how I use the whiteboards here. Students listen to other players in the game. So superfight that game, they get one character card into ability. So the first character card they choose, they might choose Chuck Norris, they choose an ability can turn invisible, and then they get a random ability. So the random ability could be a good one could be a negative one. The random one might be Chuck Norris, who can be invisible, and has teddy bears for arms and legs. So if you know Chuck Norris, he really requires his arms and legs, but maybe he can do some head butting, I don't know. So in the game, you have to convince the other players why they would win in a fight. So another side note, I would set this up to make sure it's very much comedic and you're not doing something graphic. I'm my students were really mature when it came to this. But you may need to set this up for players. And again, there is the option of using snake oil and snake oil, you get to words and you have to sell that product. So you might get towards I always use this one slippery banana. And you have to sell that product to a customer and the customer might be a an astronaut. And so how do you sell a slippery banana to an astronaut? Again, there's some other rules to both those games, but you can go to YouTube and search how to play those games on YouTube as well. So when they're playing superfight, or snake oil, I asked them to take notes on when they see one of the three or all of the three components of the persuasive persuasion. So if they see a player use ethos, establishing credibility as their character. So again, going back to Chuck Norris, like Chuck Norris is like the best martial artist ever, that is establishing ethos or credibility to win the fight. So that is tip number two. Let's go to tip number three.

So tip number three is a technical tip. And you kind of need access to level of technology to be able to pull this off. I would say that most classrooms I don't know, it's hard to say but most classrooms I've been in have most of these things, but I used my own my own tech because I don't like to be reliant on classroom technology or the technology that's available. I like to know that I have it. So what I did is we played a game called Dixit, and if you're familiar with Dixit, I'll leave a like example of a card on here. So Dixit, you essentially say a word, a phrase, a quote, and you choose a card that represents that word, phrase or quote. Now all the other players they look in their hand and they choose a similar or another card that also they think represents that word, phrase or quote, and then the game you have to try to get players to choose your card. There's some other again, nuances and how scoring works. But in this game, you essentially have to be around a table to play it. Unless you're able to project the cards in the board on the screen. I like Dixit because there's not a bunch of component components. The cards are pretty big. The board is only to keep score. So what I did is I took my phone camera I connected To my laptop and the laptop was connected to the projector. So if you connect your phone to a MacBook and you use a USB connection, I think maybe even you can do Bluetooth or airplay these days, I did not do it that way I use the hard connection opened up quick time. And quick dime time, you can select the little record button, there's a URL you need to select, start a new movie recording, select the record button, and then choose phone or iPhone or I think it's just titled iPhone. And then it will project your phone on the screen. So on your laptop screen, and then if you have your laptop connected to your projector, and then on your phone, you need to open your camera so your camera is down on to the board, I had to buy it like a, I think I have one here. Let's see if we can get it there something similar to this where it can hold your phone and project down. I have a different one that I use in the classroom where it is you can bend it. It's if you're listening to podcasts essentially connects to the table and you can bend it down to look at or to face, whatever you want it to face. I think there's something called gorilla pods to you. But I'll leave a link below on the one I got on Amazon. I think it's like $20. Gorilla pods are the professional level ones that are I mean, they're they seem really nice, but I just haven't spent that much money on one yet. They can also work for cameras to those guerrilla pods. So I project it on to my phone and my phone, I click on the camera on the phone. So now I have a camera. It's recording or displaying you don't actually need to hit record, but it's showing the board. The board is now displayed on my laptop and the laptop is projected. So we're able to play Dixit and I would go around the classroom and I would collect their cards when they're ready to submit them. And I would put them on the camera or on the desk that would project it onto the camera. So again, I know that you need a certain level access to technology to be able to do this. But if you do have that level of technology access, it opens up the doors a bit more to try and other games. I haven't tried anything else besides Dixit. I'm going to actually look at my tips here. Yeah, that's it. I think just Dixit for this game. There are some other games that I've recreated virtually that you could potentially do the same thing like trap words, trap words, again, there's not a lot of components. I think that's the key to making this successful. Not a lot of components, you just move people across this dungeon. That's essentially all the components in trap words. Also, something I've done virtually are the rolling right game. So I'm actually going to go into the next tip and talk about those. Right.

So this is again, kind of similar to tip number one rolling right games are great for socially distance classroom or remote classrooms, because you only need a sheet of paper. And that is what they can use to play the game. And sometimes you need to project something on the board. So for floor plan, when we played that game, that was a game we just played for fun. At the end of class, we had about 2025 minutes, we didn't get to finish it. But we were able to play it a little bit and I used the there's different cards, object objective cards that you have to complete in floorplan. So I've projected those. I also projected my sheet so I can show players how I was drawing on my sheet. Again, if you're not familiar with rolling write games, I guess I should explain that those are games where something's happening in the game that helps you create or add to your player sheet and on your player sheet you're writing and adding things to it. So you can play this remotely and you can play it distanced. Usually you need at least one copy of the game to pull this off. You don't need several copies of rolling right games, you just usually just need one to be able to play with as many players as you want. Most games are like one to 100 rolling right games. So again, another type of game great for socially distance classroom. Now let's go into our last tip, which is my favorite tip.

Let's go. Alright, the last tip is go outside. So if you have a nice environment, if your weather is nice, go outside. I know as teachers, we like to do this maybe as much as we can or most most teachers I am more of like to be able to use that as part of a learning environment. Especially get students up and kind of maybe wake them up a little bit to go outside in LA. This past week. It's been a little bit cooler. So we were able to do this it was still kind of hot. So we didn't spend the whole class outside but we went outside. There's I'm not an expert in this but there are several studies that suggest being outside during this Time is the best way to say stay safe and protected. So we're able to stagger our seats and sit outside and kind of sit around a table, which eliminated some of those barriers and communication that tech or distance create. So really great to be able to do this. We played Super fight outside, actually. And it was a blast. Students were really having fun with their characters and kind of getting to know each other as well, since they're all new students to getting to know each other. So again, that's my last tip. That's my favorite tip. I try, I'm gonna try to do that this week, too. I have a couple more classes. If it's not too hot, we'll go outside with the games. One thing to keep in mind, which we learned with superfight, which are we just have cards, but they'd like to blow so make sure if you have a game that requires cards, then you have something to keep on wait to keep on the cards, we were able to do that kind of solve that issue. But keep that in mind. Those are the tips I have for you. If you have any questions feel free to email me podcast at Board Gaming with Education Comm. I want to hear from you. Have you been using games in your classroom recently? Especially if it's socially distanced? What games have you been using? If you're not socially distanced, which I'm assuming most if not all, classrooms are that way. Or if you're remote, maybe still what games you've been using remotely? Just what games you've been using. In general, if you're at home with your kids, and you're using games to supplement some learning, we'd love to hear from you. Really, comments really help the YouTube algorithm especially for newer, smaller channels like ours, so please leave a comment let me know I also love to hear from you and love to hear what's working what's not for others out there. And again, this is our second to last episode of season 12 we'll be back next week with another solo episode of season 12 for our last episode, and that will be kind of a behind the scenes episode I'm gonna share some things I've been doing recently some things I've been reading some ways to get involved with Board Gaming with Education community and sharing some future snippets or peeks into some updates for season 13. And we have a huge update for season 13. So stay tuned for that.

Board Gaming with Education 22:21
Thank you for listening in this week. If you liked what you heard, be sure to let us know you can find us on social media as Board Gaming with Education or PGE games or email us at podcast at Board Gaming with education.com. If you want to support our podcast Be sure to check out our support page on our website. As always teach better learn more and most importantly, play more. Thank you for listening and until next time

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