‘Die!’: my favourite game

"No hesitation, repetition or Dan Brown."
“No hesitation, repetition or Dan Brown.”

If you’ve been teaching for more than, say, a couple of minutes, you’ll already have concluded that being a teacher isn’t all ha ha hee hee.

When I was a younger teacher, I made the mistake of thinking that playing games in class was something of a treat for my students. If, for whatever reason, I felt that my class hadn’t worked well or couldn’t be trusted to ‘play well’, then it would be hard graft all the way (for me as well as them).

I’ve now come round to the fact that I need to play games in my class for me as well as the children. We all need to feel that the job of being in the classroom is a fun one by and large. So with that in mind, here is my favourite game:

DIE!

Die is a well-established improv game in which a ‘conductor’ points at a line of around six narrators. To begin the game, the conductor would elicit people, place and situation (eg, pirate in a supermarket buying yoghurt).

Imagine you are in the line; if the conductor points at you, you must continue the story from precisely where the previous narrator left off. Guess what happens if you pause, repeat or make a mistake… That’s right: you die. And the more dramatically you die, the more entertaining it is for the audience. The last person standing is the winner.

It goes without saying that you have to have a lot of trust in the class. You might build up to a fully-fledged game of Die by working as the conductor yourself for a time, giving the students plenty of opportunities to get used to the format. You might even want to water the game down a little by calling it ‘Rewind’ (or something like that). That said, the fun of the game is watching the grotesque ways your students dramatise their demise!

Once your class is familiar with and enjoying the format, you can tweak it by, for example, demanding that the story finish with a particular phrase (eg, ‘and that’s why you should never pick radishes dressed as a ninja.’)

Does the game have a learning intention? Do you know what? I’m going to let you work that out for yourself. For me it is just plain fun. I can justify it in a number of ways from a literacy perspective, but I’m not going to. So there!

Let’s not spoil our ha ha hee hee.

Right, it’s your turn: what’s your #favegame?

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