Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tabletop Gaming Club (and other activities)

. . . . a girl had a dream of marry fun and education. . .

I realized a long time ago how much I value building strong relationships with my students. That doesn't mean I don't give them distance and let them be their own independent leaders, but I enjoy when they come in at recess and are interested in just "hanging out" while helping to complete classroom "chores." Not only does this make class run smoother, because you have students within the masses to quell the rabble-rousers, but you also can create a classroom environment that is geared towards them. For example, I'll make sure to use The Regular Show for an activity instead of just some vague, made-up, or Disney characters. This will make the assignment more meaningful and I knew they watched the show, because I took time to build those relationships in a relaxed way.

I also realized that having these kinds of interactions makes those harder moments bearable. Being a teacher is a full-on assault of your mental, emotional, and spiritual state of being. Yet, having those relaxed moments where you're just joking around with the kids or having a laugh helps to reset things. In all honesty, I'd rather be hanging out with the kids who don't understand my full-blown social awkwardness, than waste more of my energy trying to fit into a circle of adults who emphasize my social awkwardness front and center.

Thus was born the Tabletop Gaming Club! I'm going to have the students meet every-other-Monday during lunch to learn how to play a game. What goes through my mind is that there isn't enough time for some games. In those instances, games would be left alone to continue during the next lunch period or after school is the students are available to stay.

Once we have learned the game, the students will be allowed to sign in on a calendar to come in at recess with friends or other club members to play the game. The same unfinished rule applies. They can stay after school to finish playing or we'll have to photograph the game to set it up to play another day. I'd prefer staying after school, since I seem to stay a little later anyways. This week alone I  have been getting home well after 5PM, even though school gets out at 3:50PM.

I did explain Tabletop games to one of my Literacy classes today. Sixth graders are so eager to sign up for things. It's having the follow-through to stick with it. The kids, though, thought Tabletop games were chess an checkers. And while I accepted those answers, I pulled out my classroom copy of Dixit and gave them a smaller explanation. I think I'm persuaded a few to give it a nice check-out. Bonus, you don't have only one sign-up date. You can start playing any time during the year. I just ask that you commit to the time.

I think it'll be fun once we get it going. I am so super psyched about it.I also want to have some of the students help run games in class. I think it'll be cool.

And there you have it. . . a club is born!

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