Game Time with Telestrations


About a week before Christmas, I was running errands... listening to the radio... thinking about how I needed a few more gifts... when the DJs started talking about this fun game everyone was playing in the studio.

Remember the old telephone game... where you and your friends sat in a circle and one person whispered a secret message to the person next to them?  Then it secretly went around the circle until the last person blurted out a version that was nothing like the original sentence? 

That's Telestrations, except with drawing... no talking.  And it's really fun.

One thing I like about this game is that everyone gets to participate at the same time, so nobody is ever sitting idly, just waiting.  And it's simple.  Each player starts out with a different word and illustration for the group to figure out.  Then the sketchbooks are passed around as the other players try to guess and draw the original word.  Here's my son's sample from a game we just played:

PLAYER ONE:

David's word was bathing suit.  On the first page of his sketchbook, he wrote bathing suit.  And on the second page, he drew a bathing suit. Then he passed it to the next player who can only look at the drawing, not the word.  



PLAYER TWO:

Player Two was me.  But when I got David's sketchbook, I thought it was a bib (and maybe a plate of noodles).  So I wrote down bib.  Then I passed it to the next player, my daughter.


PLAYER THREE:

Haley drew a pretty good bib, I think.  I mean, she even drew three arrows to it.  


PLAYER FOUR:

But when it go to the next player (my husband), he thought it was a... Hot Dog Burp.  Really?  

Like hot dog burp would actually be something on a game card.  


But it was funny and we all laughed at the end of the round when David shared each page.    Bathing suit ... bib ... hot dog burp.  Yeah, that makes sense. 

So, occupational hazard #87, I started thinking Wouldn't this game be fun in a classroom? How could I tie it into the curriculum?  What are the educational benefits... you know, in case an administrator walks in? 

If you play a few rounds of this game and really think about your thinking, you'll notice you're using strategies that support larger subjects like:

• reading
• writing
• art

... and skills that strengthen:

• visualization
• context clues
• vocabulary
• key details
• critical thinking
• problem solving
• questioning
• inferring
• fine motor skills 

And tying it to your curricular standards is easy if you make your own cards.  (Older students can even contribute by making cards.  That's a fun way to assess how much they've learned about a particular topic of study. And it's engaging test-review, too!)  For example: 

ELA
If you've been studying parts of speech, you can make a set of cards for nouns and another set for verbs.

SCIENCE
After concluding a unit of study, make a set of cards with key vocabulary words such as weather, thermometer, evaporation, condensation, hurricane, meteorologist, hail, forecast, arid, barometer, cumulus clouds, the water cycle, etc. 

SOCIAL STUDIES
Help the children remember Presidents' Day with words like Lincoln, Washington, president, White House, log cabin, penny, dollar bill, leader, beard, speech, and so on.

BACK TO SCHOOL
The game doesn't have to be limited to academic standards only. Familiarize your students with their new surroundings by using things found in your classroom... clock, flag, sink, desk, table, computer, ruler, paper clips, clipboard, stapler, and rug, for example.  Want to make it a little more challenging for older students?  Expand that deck of cards to the whole school... cafeteria, secretary, bus, elevator, swings, patrol, basketball court, library, etc.



EACH TEAM NEEDS:

• a deck of cards with your desired words
• a minute timer

EACH PLAYER NEEDS:

• a stapled and laminated 6-page booklet of plain of white paper
• a thin dry erase marker
• a tissue (for erasing)

* Note on Student Booklet:  The easiest way to make a student booklet is to laminate one 12x18 piece of white construction paper and then cut it into six 6x6 squares.  Stack them and secure them on one side with staples or metal rings so the pages flip like a book.



1.  Play in teams of 4.  Each player has their own booklet, marker, and eraser.

2.  Each player writes their own name on the front of the booklet.

3.  To begin, each player draws a card from the deck and writes that word on their next page (the 2nd page).  Then, they illustrate their own word on the next page (the 3rd page).  They have one minute to finish their illustration.

4.  Each player passes their booklet to the player on their left and then looks at only the drawing on the 3rd page, trying to figure out what it is.  (They can't look back at other pages... only the one before it.)  They write their guess on the 4th page, then pass the booklets to the left again.

5.  Now each player looks at the word on the 4th page of the booklet they received.  They flip to the blank 5th page and sketch an illustration for that word.  Again, they have one minute to draw.

6.  The booklets are passed to the left again.  Each player looks at the final illustration in the booklet they received, writing a final word on the last page.  Then the booklets are returned to their original player.

7.  Students take turns sharing their booklets from beginning to end.  Was the word the same or did it change as it made its way around the group?


So... ready for some game time?  Have fun...

And happy teaching!

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