Offline & Offscreen Games (flexible, varied ages and abilities)

In the last month or so (Covid-19 days), I have spoken to a number of students and families who are looking for some learning activities which are flexible (kids can play with their siblings), age-appropriate and off-screen. The following games are a shortlist (I’ll add some more later) of what I have used in the classroom (enrichment program) as well as at home with my own kids.

I am a proponent of game-based learning, I have spent the past year learning how to use off-line games as a way to engage my students in social and collaborative learning activities. Each of these games can be differentiated depending on the age or ability of the learner. I love games that are naturally designed for universal learning and teaching.  Learners can go as deep and complex as they wish, or keep it simple.

Idiom Addict. A family favourite and can be played with a variety of ages. Some of the idioms are very difficult and need to be unpacked and discussed.  A great opportunity to talk about culture and vocabulary.  I enjoy using this game when working with my ESL groups.  https://www.amazon.ca/The-Good-Game-Company-B07GKHJX46/dp/B07GKHJX46 

 


Source: https://costastaliadoros.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/dixit-cards.jpg

Dixit Board Game – This is our favourite game. I wrote about it in another post. “Dixit, a Game for Everyone” 

Board Game (highly recommended for Gifted, enriched and students with strong language, vocabulary and creative thinking skills.) Dixit is a game with very simple mechanics and rules but a lot of depth, strategy, creativity, and variety. Each player has a hand of cards with amazing artwork http://www.thefamilygamers.com/classic-reviews-dixit/

 

 

 


Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/729844106/yushino-is-scrabble-with-numbers-0

Number Scrabble: This is much harder than it looks. At first, my small groups did not like this game. But as we got into it, students began to challenge one another with more complex calculations.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Number-Scrabble-The-Game-aka-Math-Scrabble/

 

“Number Scrabble” (or “Math Scrabble”) is a game based on normal Scrabble, but you make equations instead of words. The letter tiles used in Scrabble are replaced with numbers and operators. 


Quiddler Card Game. This game can be individualized and played with a variety of ages and levels. I play this card game often with my ESL students. It is a family favourite. Great for vocabulary practice (all ages) “Using special cards, Quiddler draws on one’s ability to combine letters into words. The challenge is to arrange your entire hand into words. Draw and discard in turn. https://www.mastermindtoys.com/8532-Quiddler-Game.aspx?gclid=Cj0KCQjw-r71BRDuARIsAB7i_QNXIBsrD4JleqygAKAL7xYEpDCLBD0GHG-Mla8tgCLORE8A_A1yBWIaAsdZEALw_wcB

 


Source: greatcardgame.com

 

The World Game: I love using this game to discuss world data. We often have our computer open to look up facts and check the information on the cards. I have played this game with children and adults and there is always a discussion and something new to learn. 

https://greatcardgame.com/ Learn about the continents, flags, location, capital cities & basic facts of every country in the world. A truly fun and educational game for all ages. Kids love it.

 

 

 


Source: https://www.educationalinsights.com

After Words: LINK In this fast-paced, vocabulary-building game, players must name a word that matches 1 of their category cards AND begins with the letter in play

 

 

 

 

 

 


Quicktionary Card Game – This is a fun game to make at home. I have had students make it, using different levels of difficulty, topics, letters, and blends. 

From: http://therathole.ca/quicktionary/ ” The game consists of 102 cards, divided into 3 types. The yellow cards give a category, for example, “a word associated with science” or “an item found in an office”. The blue cards place a limit on the word itself, for example, “has exactly one syllable” or “has more consonants than vowels”. Finally, the red cards add a specific letter or letter combination, like, “cannot contain the letter R” or “contains the letters CH”. Once 3 cards are laid out, one of each colour, the goal is to be the first person to call out a word that fits all the conditions. There are no turns, everyone plays at the same time. And I do mean everyone plays; there is no “judge”, the players as a whole determine whether or not a word is correct. In the games we played, this led to many interesting situations, like counting letters on fingers, writing down words to determine consonant to vowel ratios, and at one point, a non-player googling “foods that start with A”.

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Dixit: A Game for Everyone (Language, Thinking and Abstract Learning Skills)

Developing Language Skills and Higher-Order Thinking – A game for everyone. 

This is a fun family-friendly game that can be adapted to use with a variety of age groups, literacy levels and cultural differences. 

 


Dixit is a fantasy association game. The game contains large playing sized cards each with different images. The fantasy and story-telling images are extremely detailed and provide room for interpretation and abstract thinking.  Children and adults alike enjoy reading the cards and finding creative ways to interpret the meaning and symbols. 

At home, I play this with my family (ages 16, 17, 20 and adults). I also have an ELL student living with us who loves using this game to learn vocabulary. He uses a translater to help him express his ideas.

As an educator, I play this with my students as a guided language lesson. We dig into higher-order thinking skills, comprehension, symbolism and abstract thinking. We use the pictures to discuss elements of a story as well as point of view and perspective.  I dug through the curriculum (Ontario) for examples of higher-level language skills which can be practiced when using this tool. 

 

From: https://samblanco.com/2013/10/22/dixit 

Picture Comprehension/Abstract Thinking – Understanding the content of the picture and being able to think abstractly about associations that may be made with that picture is a required skill for the game. For some learners, I focus on the “clues” they give by narrowing the possible choices they can use. For example, if I have a student that loves movies, all clues must relate to movie titles.

Describing Pictures/Expressive Language/Intraverbal Conversation – After all cards have been displayed, players discuss which card they believe is the correct choice for the clue. They must be able to provide their reasons for the choice they have made.

While it isn’t always explicit, I spent time documenting (after working w the skills learning associated with the game

  • Comprehension
  • Abstract Thinking
  • Expressive Language
  • Verbal Language
  • Interpersonal and social skills
  • Use of critical and creative thinking skills and/or processes. 
  • Communicating and conveying of meaning through various forms
  • Transfer of knowledge and skills (e.g., concepts, strategies, processes) to new contexts
  • Real, purposeful talk
  • analyze texts and images in order to evaluate how effectively they communicate ideas, opinions, themes, or experiences
  • use appropriate words, phrases, and terminology from the full range of vocabulary, including inclusive and non-discriminatory language, and a range of stylistic devices, to communicate their meaning 
  • develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations
  • analyze a variety of text forms and explain how their particular characteristics help communicate meaning, 
  • identify various elements of style – including metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness 
  • regularly use vivid and/or figurative language and innovative expressions
  • develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations 
  • use vivid and/or figurative language and innovative expressions in their writing

Resources:

https://teachinggamesefl.com/2017/08/24/how-to-use-dixit-in-the-classroom/

https://www.teachershouseshop.com/archives/1230

http://c-raine.com/2013/11/12/dixit-storytelling-cards-inspire-esl-class/

https://samblanco.com/2013/10/22/dixit/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6UlbxeDE0w

https://samblanco.com/2013/10/22/dixit/

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