Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Flipping boardgames for remote teaching - going on a safari!

Keeping it simple and familiar is a mantra I've been trying to apply as more & more of Luna's students are joining us remotely. There are enough 'new things' to have to learn on the hop right now, an overload of advice and a fair avalanche of problems usually at the last minute or as classes are starting/students arriving...

Animal Safari is a simple board game from Orchard Toys, which I like to use to reinforce learning of (low) numbers + animals, and the target language to differentiate singular/plurals...
  • "What can you see?" "I can see a parrot" or "I can see three alligators" etc
But how to play when the mice are all at home?!

Solution: looks messy (my end) but worked a treat for the end users, (9-10 y.o.) on iPhones.

Game set up on the floor, counters flat on the board. Bird's Eye view of the game & pieces by balancing an iPhone above it (plastic train track cellotaped to a box overhanging the table edge = avoids a shadow. Share that screen in Zoom, with your camera app open, making sure everything is "the right way up".

Floored - analog game play!
Teacher shakes dice for the students. Hold dice up to the iPhone camera so they can count for their turn. Teacher moves the relevant counter forward (make a note of player/colour counter in game play order!). If there is extra action eg take a card etc, then hold that card also up to the camera and let the game play happen - as much as possible get the participants to do all the talking (establish turns eg A plays, B asks the questions...B's turn, C asks the questions & so on).

Teacher meantime on video as Zoom host, giving feedback & correcting if necessary, keeping the action going & everyone involved. Not easy - juggling a number of roles! I got so confused I couldn't remember "Meerkat" when asked!

I think this set up will work with most simple & familiar board games out of the cupboard...going to try a few more! Avoids downloading apps and all the hassle there with extra screen time etc and also clearly not digital ie I, the teacher, need to be 'in the room' so I'm not going to making myself unemployed...

Give it a go - what analog game & set up works well with your YLE class?

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