Wednesday, May 12, 2021

DECISIONES - A Strategic Game for the World Language Classroom


Here is an end of the school year, yes we made it through the crazy pandemic hybrid schedules game for you. It is a great way to review any type of text - a short story, legend, several chapters in a novel, news articles, - anything with enough text to be able to write 14 comprehension questions.

I test drove this new game with three classes and made changes after the first two classes to improve the game and rules. Now, it is ready for you.  

Students will like the game because they decide what they will do with the points they earn, but it is mixed with an element of uncertainty. You'll like it because the students want to answer correctly in order to have that control over their points. So here you go...

DECISIONES

Materials Needed: 

- Deck of Cards. I use Spanish cards, Baraja Española. They're authentic, the face cards have the number values written on them. If you use a regular deck, I suggest taking out the face cards so keep it simple.

- Mini-White Boards, Markers, Erasers, or something for students to write their team's answers

- 14 Decisiones Cards (5 Regalen, 5 Quédense, 3 Dupliquen, and 1 Regalen los puntos negativos)

- 14 Questions for the game based on a text you have read with your students

Goal of the Game: Earn more points than the other teams

Instructions/Rules:

1. Put the students into three groups. If you have large classes, you can have 4 or 5 teams, but it will take longer to complete the game.  

2. Students need to sit with their teams to be able to discuss the answers to the questions. Give each group a set of the DECISIONES cards - 14 cards per set. Each team also should have 1 mini-white board, a marker, and eraser

*I copied each set in a different color to make it easier to keep track of the cards each team has used.

3. Read the first question. Team members will quietly discuss the answer and one team member will write the answer on the mini-white board. This is NOT a race. Allow sufficient time for students to discuss and write their answer.

4. Tell teams to hold up their answers. Teams that answer correctly will have the chance to earn points or to gift points. Teams that answer correctly will lose a DECISIONES card.

When Teams Answer Correctly:

5. If several or all teams answer correctly, start with the first team and pull a card from the top of the deck. Students look at the number on the card and decide which of the following actions they want to do:

- Quédense con los puntos - Keep the points, add it to their score

- Regalen los puntos - Gift the points to another team (They cannot gift it to their own team)

- Dupliquen los puntos - Duplicate the point value of the card, add it to their score

- Regalen los puntos negativos - The point value of the card is negative, gift it to another team to take aways points from that team's score

6. Keep track of each team's score and write it on the board on project the score so throughout the entire game, students can see the running scores for their team and other teams.

7. After the first team has decided what to do with the points, turn over a card for the net team that answered correctly. They decide what to do with their points. Continue until you have pulled a card for all teams that answered correctly .

If a Team Answers Incorrectly:

8. If a team answers incorrectly, they will lose cards. The first card they need to surrender to the teacher is the Quédense con los puntos card. If they answer incorrectly the second time, take away another Quédense card from the team. Continue taking away the Quédense cards until they do not have any more of those, then take away the Regalen los puntos negativos card, and then the Dupliquen cards.

The End of the Game:

9. The game ends AFTER students answer ALL of the 14 questions, and have no DECISIONES cards remaining.

A basic version of the DECISIONES cards are available HERE for download. It will ask you to make a copy.

Suggestions/Insights:

- The game works best when there are more than two teams playing. The reason for this is that when three teams play, and if one team starts to pull ahead, the other teams will most likely gift their points to the team with the lower points. This naturally helps to keep the scores close and teams won't give up and stop trying to win.

- Make the majority of the questions that students will know the answers. The best part of the game is students strategizing what to do with the points they are presented with. Throw in a few harder level questions to keep everyone on their toes and to encourage collaboration with their teammates.

- Students will quickly learn that they want to duplicate the cards with high numbers and gift the cards with the low numbers.

- If a team has used all of their cards and only have the Regalen los puntos cards remaining, you may want to add a rule that if they answer incorrectly, they lose X number of points. The reason I say that is because today one team had only Regalen los puntos cards remaining and I heard one of them say, "If we answer incorrectly, we don't have to give any points to other teams". Of course students will figure out every angle to their advantage. But, I'm telling YOU ABOUT IT, so you can add that extra rule to prevent that from happening. 

- When pulling a card off the top of the deck for the teams that answered correctly, I always started with the same team and went in the same order. It made it easy to follow the same order and NONE of the teams complained about it.

- Another plus to this game, you have to read a text with your students first! We all know the power of reading when helping your students to acquire another language!

15 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun game, I'm looking forward to trying it. I do have a question. On #4. It says that "Teams that answer correctly will have the chance to earn points or to gift points. Teams that answer correctly will lose a DECISIONES card." So if they answer correctly they earn points and lose a deciciones card? I'm a little confused on this one. Please explain.

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    1. For each round/question, teams will surrender a card. If they answer correctly, they decide which card they will play. For example, the teacher says, Team 1, this is your card, and turns over a 10, they decide do they want to keep the points, duplicate the points, gift the points to another team, or gift the points, but they're negative points, to another team.

      If the team answers incorrectly, they also have to surrender a card but they can NOT earn any points. They're basically surrendering/handing the card to the teacher, but it is not connected to points.

      During each round, whether they answer correctly or incorrectly, they play/lose a card. That way ALL teams always have the same number of cards at the start of each round.

      The game is only completed after all 14 cards have been played and that will happen on the 14th round.

      If you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

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    2. I should have mentioned that if a team answers incorrectly, they do NOT decide which card they hand over to the teacher. There is an order of which cards they have to turn over, because obviously they all would want to hand over the REGALEN LOS PUNTOS cards because they don't want to give away points. For that reason, the order is:
      -first have to hand over QUÉDENSE los puntos cards
      -if they don't have any of those DECISIONES cards remaining, then they have to hand over the REGALEN los puntos negativos
      - if they don't have any QUÉDENSE nor REGALEN los puntos negativos remaining, they have to hand over their DUPLIQUEN los puntos cards

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  2. What a wonderful way to energize my class! Thank you!

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

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  4. for dupliquen los puntos... are you doubling the point value? I don't understand what you mean by duplicate.

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    1. Yes, duplicate the points. If the card that the teacher pulls from the deck for their team is 10, they can decide to use the duplicate card and they will earn 20 points. If it is a 7, they can duplicate that card for 14 points.

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  5. Love this idea! The one thing I didn't catch from the article was revealing the points value of each question, and the role of the deck of cards. I'm deducing that you turn over a playing card after all teams have answered and the chosen their decisiones, and that number is the point value? Maybe the black cards are positive values and the red ones are negative?

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    1. Right, all teams answer. Then, if team A answered correctly, I said to them, the card I'm going to turn over is for you team. I then turned over the top card of the deck for team A and, they discussed, which DECISIONES card they wanted to play (which determines how their points are calculated).
      Then I turned to team B, and IF they had answered correctly, I tell them the next card I turn over is for their team, and they see the point value and determine which DECISIONES card they want to play.

      If team C answered incorrectly, I would tell one of the team C members to bring me one of the QUÉDENSE cards. They have to surrender it/hand it over to me, but do not receive any points. If they had already used/played all of their QUÉDENSE cards, then they have to surrender/hand over the REGALEN LOS PUNTOS NEGATIVOS card, and if they had already used that card they have to hand over the DUPLIQUEN los puntos.

      In every round, the teams will play/lose a card so at the beginning of each round, all teams have the same number of DECISIONES cards remaining to play.
      Obviously, they don't want to play the REGALEN LOS PUNTOS because they don't want to give other teams points. So if a card I turn over for them is low (1, 2, 3, etc), then those types of cards are the ones that they decide to give to another team.

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    2. The color of the cards, black or red, does not matter.

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    3. Okay, that clears it up, thank you! So it's not like the unfair game where they make the decision and THEN have the big reveal of the number of points. I guess you could play it that way too for a more suspenseful twist.

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    4. You're correct. They see the points first. I wanted to give the players more control over their score instead of all of it depending on luck. The players like the fact that they do have that bit of control/power in the game.

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  6. These seems super fun! Mil gracias por la idea.

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