The game playing came to light when I called a student out for playing games during class. Afterwards, he came to see me and told me that it's not just him who is playing. He said that there were lots of students playing. On Wednesday's at HMS, we have every one of our eight periods for 30 minutes a day (yes, it's crazy!). Having just heard this information, I decided to use the time to have a discussion with the kids about video game playing. It was an interesting day with some great discussion. Each class agreed that indeed, there were several students who play games every possible minute they are able. So we brainstormed ideas on how to change this. The most popular idea was that each class I give the kids a 5-10 minute break and we play a game or energizer such as Heads Up Seven Up, Two Truths and a Lie or any of the fun energizers out there.
So, during the next two days, I did just that, and guess what, I discovered by quizzing them anonymously with an exit ticket on what they thought of it - that on the whole it worked!!
I explained at the start of class that I would set my alarm and when it went off they would stop work and we would play a game. They decided it was important they that didn't know when the game was going to be otherwise they'd play games and predict when to stop. I told them that in return, while I expected them to be working, they needed to actually be working and not playing games...
We played a matching game I had learned at an AVID training, it goes something like this:
Me: Go and find someone or a group of people wearing the same brand of shoes.
Me: Now with your partner, group, share a time when .....(you did blank, or went blank)...
I repeated that three times with categories such as: were born in the same city, have the same number of siblings; and sharing things such as - could go for dinner with any celebrity, who would it be and why.
The activity took about 10 minutes, then the students sat down and went back to work. There were of course, a handful of students (probably about 10 out our 170) who didn't enjoy the activity, but all in all, I was very happy with the results and there was a LOT less video game playing happening.