One thing I want to work more on this year is using the Genki English games, philosophies etc. and applying them to other subjects. Very often just one idea can totally change how a student perceives a subject, and one particular area I want to help with is the UN’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

There are lots of good resources out there, for example the www.sustainabilityed.org website. They have a very nice online game for teaching students about over fishing. And it would work great as a classroom game that you could fit in an English or “Integrated Studies” lesson. e.g.

Preparation

1. Put the kids in groups of 3
2. Give each group 3 A4 pages of clipart fish.
3. The kids cut out the fish.
4. Using a piece of string make a “sea” in the middle of the desk.
5. Put 20 fish in the sea.

The Game

1. Each group decides how many fish to take out of the pool that day.
2. They take them out and put them in their fishing baskets and write the number on a piece of paper.
3. Count up how many fish are left.
4. Calculate what 25% of that number is, and add this many new fish to the sea.
5. You can only have a max of 20 fish in the sea.
6. Repeat from step 1
7. When 10 days have passed sit down.

Scoring

13. Write on the board 1-10 for the days and the group names down the side.
14. Write down how many fish each group took each day and how many fish were left at the end.
15. See which team got the most fish, and the strategies they used.
16. See which team got the least fish and the strategies they used.
17. Discuss.

This is a simple lesson that works really well. The trick with the larger subjects such as water hygiene or deforestation is breaking them down into small enough targets for one lesson or course of lessons. Once you have those targets it is be quite simple to use Genki style games to get the point across. This would be in a similar way to the idea of using say the Ostrich Game to teach food groups ( you put pictures of foods on the kids’ back, when they see the card they say what food group it is), which has nothing to do with English but really works for the new subject. It’s coming up with “bite size” versions of the sustainability issues that I need the help with!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...