Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trying Something New:
Board Games in the Library Collection

The ideal school library is best described as a "learning resource center," a place (physical or virtual) where students and teachers can find needed tools, information, assistance, guidance, study space, and all kinds of other support for learning. In the olden days, library collections included realia (real things, like rocks or collections of pressed leaves), ephemera (items only useful temporarily), and other non-print information sources that could be checked out just like books or videos. Anybody remember the vertical file?

One of the sessions I attended at the AASL meeting in November was all about board games for learning. The neat thing about board games is that the teaching is implicit in the competition, and they include visual, auditory and kinetic learning strengths (pictures on the board, talking about the moves you're making, picking up cards and moving playing pieces).

Jennifer and Tony's junior high class does a lot of geography, so that's a natural area for jumping into the board game world. Students just learned about East Asia, and are now moving to South and West Asia. The game 10 Days in Asia just arrived, and Tony's students will be giving it a trial run later this week. The object of the game is to connect a series of country and transportation tiles to create a possible 10 day journey across the Asian continent. Most impressive to me is that the game includes ALL of Asia, from Turkey to New Guinea! A game should take 20-30 minutes to complete for 2-4 players -- perfect for a class period.

Because I tend to buy in threes (what? we have nothing on the Triangle Shirt Factory fire?? we'll need at least 3 books for that research topic!), we now also have 10 Days in the USA and 10 Days in Africa. Experienced players suggest connecting two or more games in this series for playing a longer and more complex game (20 Days Across Asia & Africa?).

I can't wait to play.

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