My school has been back to full 5 person face to face instruction since March 16th. This was facilitated by the installation big, nasty plexiglass cubicles and it was immediately apparent that the students were miserable. In fact, one could argue that the in person plexiglass cubicles is as, if not more, isolating than the Hybrid or Virtual schools. These cubicles are only about 2 and a half feet wide and, when on the desks, are about 5 and a half feet tall. When in person the plexi makes it difficult to hear and see the other people in the room! Here is a live shot of me trying to see students with the lights on and window shade up.
So I have been looking for ways to use the plexiglass in a way that would allow students to have a fun or positive experience while in class. I developed an “airmail” game (which students pointed out was basically Angry Birds) which was pretty fun but wouldn’t really work in a larger class. Another fun game that we have been playing is Pictionary.
The basic idea of Pictionary is pretty straightforward; one player is given a term and has to draw images that would prompt their teammates to guess that term. No words, letters, or numbers are allowed. Really straightforward but in a typical classroom the number of drawing students is limited by the amount of whiteboard space. By using an Expo Marker on the Plexiglass the amount of drawing space is immensely increased. It also looks like a movie scene.
- Safety First – Surface transmission of COVID seems like a very low risk but some mitigation steps can be taken. We wipe down the markers and erasers with a purell wipe after class. I do give them a small square of paper with the Pictionary Terms but encourage them to wipe their hands. I leave the markers, erasers, and term lists in the plexiglass cubicle.
- Create the Terms – I used this game as a recall activity following a 30 minute lecture session. I created terms based on the important vocabulary that was in that lecture session. An easy system is to have two unique lists – one for “Student/Team A” and one for “Student/Team B”. (see below)
- Grouping – I have tables in my room that are set up in small 4 person “pods”. I am blessed with small class sizes during our in person meetings so most of my classes have students sitting across from the table from each other. One side of the pod is Student/Team A and the other side is Student/Team B.
- Playing the Game – The teacher calls out a number from Student A’s list. Student B has to guess what the term is. If they guess the term the group gets a point. Give the group 1 minute to draw and guess. After a minute switch the roles. Keep going until either the words are gone or you want to stop.
When my students played we kept score but it wasn’t necessary. I didn’t offer any prize or reward for the winning team. It did not matter. Using the RAMP concept the were just happy to break down the cubicle isolation – the Relatedness concept. They were engaging in what Lazzaro would describe as Easy and Social(or People) Fun.