During New Year's Eve, I had a true “teacher moment.” I was playing Game of Phones with my friends, a game I had put on my Christmas list that my sister bought for me. As I was playing, I couldn't help but think of how this would be great for students. I almost stopped having fun because I was developing the lesson plan in my head.
The premise of the game is much like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity: the person who wins the most cards at the end of the game wins. In Game of Phones, players must use their knowledge of their cell phone; it makes your cell phone a social game. Each card gives a task, and depending on the task, either the first one to complete the task or the best completion of the task wins the card. Examples of tasks include finding funny pictures, finding the best rates, who has the most likes and getting texted replies.
As I was playing, I realized how many skills I had to use in order to win the card. My ability to use keyword searches, to quickly scroll, my understanding of vocabulary and that I had the fastest phone, led me to be a winner that first night. As a library media specialist, I have to teach kids how to search well. We know that the world has changed; no longer do libraries hold the information with students asking for access. Now they have a fire hydrant of information spewing at them, and students have to search and decide what is important and what is not. Game of Phones is a great way to teach kids how to search. It teaches them that they need to use keywords, and quickly. As students were playing, they were learning and practicing these necessary search skills. We got to have great discussions of they processed the challenge and how they solved it. Students discussed with each other their thinking and what lead them to the search terms. They are also really great vocabulary terms such as hipster and obnoxious. These are words that might get thrown around that the students don't typically know, so now you have the opportunity to discuss vocabulary. I could not have a better learning experience for them that was as much fun.
Before you play the game with your students, read each card. There are some that are not appropriate for students in learning environment, such as text a random phone number. Save those for when you are playing with adult friends.
This was great with our Reading Recovery students, and junior boys in study hall. They all loved playing Game of Phones, and learned something along the way.