I have gotten several responses from teachers on playing the game, so I will post little segments of what I have found out. It is important that you establish how to play the game very early, but even if you haven’t it is still okay — the students quickly learn. While you are teaching them to play the game, they are learning: how the rules work, the most creative answer wins, which answers are appropriate, they have to participate, and how to respond to peoples suggestions. It is also important that we are encouraging and affirming as we go because they are taking little steps toward buying to our class. If we don’t choose their answer, it still needs to be a positive experience. Eventually, you can joke with them a little more about denying their answers, but in the beginning it’s good to keep it positive.
Here is a strategy that I received from Joe Neilson:
- You ask the class for a detail.
- The class is quiet because they don’t know how to play the game.
- You offer two or three boring suggestions and one that is really funny or bizarre.
- They learn how to play the game.
Ex. Class, why did she trip? [The class is silent, so the teacher says]
- Uhh, She tripped because there was a dog on the floor? [because they are learning the game the class will say, “Yes!” The teacher abruptly says, “No.”
- She tripped because her shoe was untied? [The class says, “Yes!” The teacher abruptly says, “No.” Then answers with an unexpected answer]
- She tripped because there was a bag on the ground. [The class may say, “Yes!” or laugh or they may say nothing because they are caught off guard. This causes curiosity because it was unexpected and then you can talk about why it was on the floor or what was in it or what color it was or where she got it etc. It is an element that leads to another open door and keeps the students on their toes]
I tried this today and it was magic. The students were way more engaged and started to offer up more exciting details. Many of them were better than the one I had reserved. I am going to keep inserting this technique anytime I need to establish the game or get more interesting answers from the class.