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What’s on my back?

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(I like to use this game when I’m teaching the Golden Rule or cooperation, etc. The students usually think this is a competition—see who can find their matching partner first—but when all is said and done, I only give the prize if everyone was able to find their partner before the timer dings. (Although, I don’t tell them this at first). Because there is no talking allowed, this usually doesn’t happen unless people forget about themselves (what’s on their own back) and instead help other people find their partners.)

Use as many SM’s as there are pairs of students. On one card write the reference on a different card write the key words. (The teacher may have to play if there are an odd number of students). Tape a card to the back of each person. Tell them that there is no talking allowed and that they have 5 minutes to find their matching partner. (The time may have to change depending on how many students are playing).

Say “go”. At this point, the students wander and look at backs and realize that they have to match SM and keywords. It is fun to watch how they try to find out what is on their own back. Some students might manage to partner up, but most become frustrated.

Some might start helping each other pair up, as they see two friends that they know match. This is O.K. ‘cause that is the point of the game and you can end after one round and say “Look at how well you put others before yourself and helped others pair up, even though you couldn’t get your own match!”.

If the timer dings and not many pairs were made, then have a discussion about “forgetting yourself and putting others first”. Now reset the timer and see how quickly they can finish the game by helping each other pair up.

ANOTHER BACK GAME. Make a list of SM clues and give each student a copy. Place an answer on the back of each student. The students wander around and write the name of the student who has the correct answer on their back on their handout by each question.

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