Before I get into today’s topic, I wanted to share some changes coming to The Meeple Street. As many of you know, I am an educator and my work load is heavier from August until June. I have been debating the best way to commit to quality content while still giving my all at work. I have come to the decision to reduce the number of days I post on my blog to at least three days a week.
Now onto more interesting topics. I am an educator who loves using board games in the classroom. Each year I start off the first few days of school with board games. This acts as a hook for my class for the year, but also provides me with valuable information about my students. This year I am only using one official game, but I also intend to use multiple escape rooms. While escape rooms aren’t technically a game, they still hit many of the same skills that games do with critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving.
The other game I intend to use this year is Ultimate Werewolf. Now many of you may be wondering what on Earth I could learn from having my students play Ultimate Werewolf. However, I love this game as an entry into the classroom. The students enjoy the engagement and the challenge of winning. It creates a classroom bond. However the information it gives me is much more valuable.
Werewolf forces interaction between students, and as a moderator I am able to sit back and watch the students interact. With a couple rounds of Werewolf, I am able to see patterns within the classroom that a normal classroom environment would not show me. For instance, with Werewolf I can quickly realize which students are not going to be good at following verbal directions like close your eyes and tap your leg with one hand. Additionally it teaches me a lot about the social order of the classroom. Who will be the leaders in discussion? Who are followers? Who likes to be the class clown? Who likes to critically think about situations? Even more importantly though, Werewolf gives me an opportunity to see if the class automatically gangs up on any other student. This gives me the chance to know if there is a student I need to watch for being bullied in a way that no other activity I have found does.
While Werewolf may not be the most in depth learning experience without significant discussion before and after for my students, the data I gain during the game gives me a quick head start into the school year. I have also found that my students love the game and ask to play it as a brain break through out the year. It is fascinating to see how their strategy and depth of play style changes throughout the year with instruction and conversations about the game. I am looking forward to introducing it with my new students on Tuesday!