Every Thursday afternoon the year 5/6 students from Mr Horsfall and Mr Letcher’s class spend a lesson playing board games in groups. A large array of board games are made available for students to choose from. These are mainly games that they have not come across before.
This session poses many challenges for students. They are asked to learn and manage many different aspects of being social, including:
✔️ Learning new games
✔️ Interacting with students that they may not know well
✔️ Team work and co-operation
✔️ Taking turns
✔️ Listening to others
✔️ Maintaining self-control
✔️ Conflict resolution
✔️ Managing winning and losing
At the start of each session a list of games are written on the board with the maximum group size written next to it. Names are then randomly selected and students choose which games they would like to start with. They then set up, discuss the rules and play the games. During this time the teacher might be teaching a new game, working with a group that needs assistance or observing how students are interacting with each other. Generally students are free to manage themselves, with the teacher only interrupting if absolutely necessary.
At the end of the session the class sits down for 15-20 minutes to discuss how they went. Students are encouraged to give feedback to each other, make comments about the positive and negative experiences they had, explain how an individual’s actions may affect others and then build in strategies and goals for the following session.
It has been fantastic to see throughout term 1 the positive changes that students have already made through this learning. Students that did not feel they had a voice are beginning to find one, competitive personalities are learning to temper their expectations about the purpose and result of playing games, and interacting with different people is having an effect with how students treat each other outside of this session.
It’s exciting to see students improve their interactions with others. They value these sessions highly and enjoy seeing their efforts change the way they act with their peers in a positive manner.
Brett Horsfall—Yr 5/6 Teacher