Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Game Spotlight: Guess-a-Doodle!

I love using games in school counseling. It gets kids hooked in and engaged, and it’s easy to tie in lessons. Often, games require modification to work in a counseling setting (e.g. Zones of Regulation Uno, rather than regular Uno) but sometimes, the lessons can come from the game itself. Guess-a-Doodle! is a game that is easy to connect to important social and coping skills kids need, and thus is one of my favorites for a low-key group day.

(As a side note, I’ll mention that I am learning to be careful about how much of a stretch I try to make with these connections. This year, I was playing Jenga with some boys who were nervous about the upcoming standardized test, and I asked them how playing Jenga is similar to taking the test. My hope had been for answers like “go slow and steady” or “make good choices”. What I got from one boy: “because if you make one wrong move the whole thing comes crashing down on you.” Not the lesson I was going for at all!!)

Here’s a quick explanation of how Guess-a-Doodle works. One player picks a card which has either a word or a picture on it and acts as the instructor. They have to describe to the other players how to draw what’s on the card using shapes, lines, etc. 

For example: “draw a triangle, then attached to the left of that triangle draw a vertical line” could be the beginnings of a sailboat. The other players try to draw what the instructor describes, and then have to guess what they drew. The instructor gets a point for each player that guessed right, and each player that guessed right gets one point.

So why is this such a great school counseling game? Let me convince you with a few topics I might cover in a follow up discussion, depending on the focus of the group:

Communication – When you are the instructor, you have to communicate your ideas clearly. You have to think through what you say before you say it. You have to consider different possibilities of how your description might be interpreted. 

  • Applying to real life: When are other times you have to make sure you communicate clearly? What is the consequence for not communicating clearly in this game? What are some consequences of not communicating clearly with your friends?
Feedback – After each round, I will sometimes have the players give the instructor feedback on where their descriptions were unclear, on how they could have described something better. I tell students to make sure their feedback is kind and constructive.

  • Applying to real life: When have you had to get feedback from a peer? What are ways that peers have given you feedback that’s helpful? Unhelpful? How can you make sure that you give your feedback in a kind way?

Perspective Taking - Each player may have interpreted the same instruction somewhat differently. Sometimes we’ll discuss whether each person had a reasonable interpretation of the same instruction, and why each person might have drawn something in a given way. This can tie back into the communication piece – was the instruction given ambiguous or clear?

  • Applying to real life: Are there times with your friends that somebody says something that gets interpreted differently by each person? Can there be multiple correct perspectives on one situation?

Frustration Tolerance – This game can be frustrating! Players get frustrated with the instructor if the directions are unclear, and the instructor may get frustrated with a player for drawing something wrong. Additionally, conversations can be opened up when someone in the game declares “I’m no good at this.”

  • Applying to real life: What do you do when you get frustrated with a task or with other people? Are there ways you can improve on something you feel you are not good at?

You can purchase Guess-a-Doodle! 
here or it’s probably an easy enough game to recreate on your own!  

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