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Showing posts from August, 2016


That first day of school.

As a student, those words sent shivers down my spine. As a teacher, those words absolutely terrify me. But the reason I'm terrified of the first day of school as a teacher might not be what you expect.

On the first day of school, I want to welcome my students. And get to know them. And build a sense of community. And let them know what to expect from my class. And I have to do all of this in between accomplishing all of the things I'm required to do like fire drills, tornado drills, distribute planners, etc.

This year, I attempted to accomplish as many as my goals for the first day of school by playing a tabletop game called Witness. In essence, this game requires players in groups of four to communicate and collaborate by piecing together clues to solve a mystery.

I've wanted to integrate tabletop games into my classroom the past couple of years, but quite honestly, that's pretty much as far as I went. Thanks to my sophomore collaboration team, m…

A Tabletop Game Approach to Teaching Rhetoric

First, a confession: it’s been over a year since I began toying with the idea of integrating tabletop games in my classroom, but I have yet to use even one.
Recently, I attended my second MNU Games and Learning Conference. So, the pressure is on now. No excuses.
A key part of the conference was time to play games from the Center of Games and Learning’s games collection. One of the games I played was Snake Oil.
How to Play the Game The goal of Snake Oil is simple: convince a customer to buy a product in 30 seconds. The player who is the customer selects a card that provides a descriptor: anything ranging from “senior citizen” to “beggar.” The other players have six cards in their hands with words like “TV” and “glasses.” Players combine two of the words to create a product the customer would want.
For example, I might pitch “TV glasses” to the “senior citizens”: “Have you ever trouble seeing that TV from across the room? Ever been frustrated by misplacing the remote control? If so, ou…