Recently I have been incorporating games from PEgames.org in class. We’ve had some great successes these past few months playing games like Dr. Dodgeball, Cops and Robbers, and Garden Ball. Sometimes there are days when the students get “creative” with the games we play. This week I had one of those days with my 5th graders.
Like all of my classes, my 5th graders have their challenges, especially since some are several years ahead of their peers developmentally. In this class, I have nine students tota between the ages of 10 and 15. In the states, that would be the difference between late elementary school and early high school. The challenge with this class has been finding games that will challenge both age groups to push themselves athletically.
During class yesterday, I gave the kids two options while we were stretching. I said we could either play Dr. Dodgeball or Cops and Robbers. One of my younger students asked me in perfect English, “Teacher, what if we combine the games?” I responded with excitement, knowing that the kids would get creative. I prompted the students to come up with new rules while we were stretching.
The object of the game is simple: a player must travel to the other team’s side to steal their precious items (sports balls, ropes, hula hoops, etc.) and bring them to their team’s base without getting hit by a ball. In order to get a player out, the opposite team must either A) hit the player with a ball from at least 5 feet away or B) tag them. If a player is tagged or hit with a ball, then that player must sit down until their team’s Doctor tags them to save them. It is the Doctor’s job to keep their team alive. When a team member dies, the Doctor must run to the fallen player and tag them to bring that player back to life. If the Doctor dies, the Doctor must sit and wait 30 seconds before returning to the game. During our first round, the class found that the game ended too quickly, so we decided to implement a scoring system: the first team to get 10 points wins the game.
We spent the last five minutes of class having a reflective group discussion. Students gave suggestions on how they wanted to improve the game for the next time we played. They suggested we play in a bigger area and have more items to steal.
My goal is for these students to develop critical thinking skills. This class period allowed my students to think creatively and critically about the class and the game. They are on their way not only to developing these critical thinking skills but also to communicating them more effectively in their second language. I was also impressed because they were able to reevaluate their ideas and communicate with each other to create a new rule. I look forward to seeing how this class can think critically and use their imaginations to invent more new games.