I visited St Bede this past Monday, and it was good to see the students survived Easter Vacation and were ready for the school year home stretch. Here is what I spoke with them about:
4th Grade – Spend or Save
We played a board game in the 4th grade class called Spend or Save. The game plays like Candyland; the idea is that the players are trying to save money for a summer trip, and the cards they draw tell them if they have spent their money or saved it.
Winning or losing in this game is really just luck, but I asked the kids to think about times when they have wanted to save up for something. Did they have a hard time resisting the urge to spend their money as soon as they earned it? Were they able to hold onto it a little longer until they had enough to buy something more expensive? As the kids played the game, they were shown how hard it is to accrue any cash if you can’t resist repeatedly spending a little bit here and a little bit there.
5th Grade – Gateway Bingo
The 5th Grade also got to play a game: Gateway Bingo. The kids make a 4 x 4 bingo board out of facts about the gateway drugs (see picture) that we have talked about in class this year, and I give away various STAR Program prizes to the winners (everyone wins at least once by the end of class).
Its a nice way to review what we have talked about all year, and its an even better way to give away some prizes.
6th Grade – The Blame Game
My 6th Grade visit was spent talking about accountability in an activity called “The Blame Game”.
During the activity, I presented the students with 3 scenarios where a kid makes a bad decision, and we discussed who is to blame for why things went wrong.
- The first scenario is about a kid who forgets to dry his soccer uniform and gets held out of his game. Do you blame the dad? The coach? Or is it his responsibility to get his stuff together.
- Scenario two is a little more serious. Two boys are stuck at the mall without a ride home and eventually get a lift from an older sibling that has been drinking and driving. There is an accident, and one of the boys is paralyzed. Who’s to blame? The driver? The friend that pressured him to get into the car? The mom who didn’t show up? Or it the boy’s fault for making the decision to get in the car with someone he knew had been drinking?
- The last story is about two girls who are supposed to be shopping at the mall, but instead go to a park to meet a boy. When they get there, the boy offers them marijuana. One of the girls doesn’t want to smoke with them, but the other two pressure her until she succumbs. When she starts to smoke, the police show up and catch them all in the act. What could the girl have done differently? Should she have called for help or abandoned her friend before the situation got this out of hand?
The point I try to get across to the kids is that there are very few times in life when you don’t have a choice. Sometimes the choices may seem awkward or difficult to make, but we are still choosing for ourselves. We are all responsible for the consequences of our decisions, so we might as well try to make the best decision possible instead of going along with someone else’s dumb idea.
7th Grade – BTW and What’s the Deal
I tried out some new games with the 7th graders during my latest visit; they played two different card games with an anti-bullying theme.
The first game is called BTW. It is a concentration style game, and the BTW stands for Bully, Target and Witness. During the game the players lay out 16 cards with various scenarios from the perspective of the bully, the target of the bullying and the witnesses to the incident. The students have to read the scenarios (which all talk of healthy ways to resolve the bullying situations) as they draw cards to make matches.
The second game is called What’s the Deal, and its modeled after games like Apples to Apples. Each player is dealt a hand of solution cards, and then the players take turns drawing situation cards. Each player submits a solution card to the drawing player, and the solution that player selects wins. The game takes the kids through a bunch of typical bully scenarios, and they have to think about constructive ways to solve the problems.