Is your class loving to hate The Unfair Game? Then they will love to hate Grudge Ball.
If you’ve ever emailed something to me to share on the blog and thought, “Well that was a total waste!”, you just haven’t waited long enough 😉 Allison Robertson in Texas emailed me instructions for Grudge Ball and some questions that she used with her classes to review the readings from my Cinco de Mayo lesson plans…in 2014. So finally, two years later, I am getting around to blogging this AWESOME-ly awful game!
Like The Unfair Game, your students are going to get really frustrated playing Grudge Ball–or, as I call it in Spanish, Resentimiento. Why? Because they don’t control what happens to their team in the game. In The Unfair Game, the game itself is in control; in Grudge Ball, the other teams are.
Allison found this game on the To Engage Them All blog. I’ve re-written the instructions a bit just to clarify some components of the game. I love that it can be played with zero preparation, although you can certainly make up question slides like this one to add some visual input:
You can write the questions about a reading (like a chapter or several chapters from a novel) or about something you’ve recently studied in class. The questions can be open-ended, multiple choice, True/False…anything! As you review the correct answer to each question, use that time to milk some nutritious and delicious comprehensible input out of it. Ask a circling question or two, and personalize the slide! Be creative with your personalization! In the example above, you could ask students what they know about Abraham Lincoln. Inevitably you’ll talk about his beard (hopefully amidst the mention of more important things!). Spend some time talking about beards and your students’ opinions of them. Why not? No discussion is a waste of time if it is comprehensible to all of your students and in the target language. If students are receiving comprehensible input, they are acquiring language: both its structure and some vocabulary.
The most important part of this game, in my mind, is how you introduce it to students. You have to talk to them about sportsmanship. The game is called GRUDGE BALL, for crying out loud! They are going to get frustrated if their team is targeted. It’s okay to feel frustrated and angry when you feel like you are being targeted unfairly, but remember that it’s just a game and at the end we will all walk away friends. To reinforce this very important idea, I like to make the winning team give compliments to the losing teams at the end of the game–in the target language, of course! In my experience, it relieves the tension that has built up during game play. It also keeps students from playing like bullies because they know that at the end of the class they will need to say something genuinely kind to whoever loses. You can use your discretion as to how compliments are given–it could be a general compliment to each team, or you could divide up all of the class members from the losing teams among the winning team members so that each winning team member has to write 4-5 compliments and everyone gets one! Alternatively, you could just throw everyone’s name in a hat and have each student draw a name write a compliment for that person, regardless of who won and who lost. Regardless of how you do it, make sure that you set aside time for this positive interaction before you leave class. Seriously. Your students will have two reasons to be excited whenever you announce Grudge Ball!
Blah blah blah. Here’s how you play:
- Set up a basketball zone. You’ll need a hoop or trash can, a ball, and some masking tape. Place the hoop or trash can and then mark two lines on the floor with masking tape for students to stand behind when shooting at the hoop or trash can; a ‘2-point’ line that is close-ish and a ‘3-point’ line that is farther away.
- Divide class into teams (5-6, depending on class size) and have them select names.
- Write the team names on the board and mark 10 X’s below each team name.
- Begin by explaining that the game is called Grudge Ball (I call it Resentimiento in Spanish), so you are of course going to feel angry at/hold a grudge against/resent other teams when they target your team. Remind the students that this is a GAME, and it’s okay to feel frustrated or angry but that when the game is over, we don’t continue to hold grudges. A great way to end the game is by having the winning team give compliments to the other teams!! It’s okay to be competitive but we must always demonstrate good sportsmanship—whether we win or lose!
- The team that goes first is the team that can give you, the teacher, the best compliment in the target language. Establish a logical rotation from there.
- Ask the first team a question.
- If they answer correctly, they get to take a shot at the hoop. If they miss the shot, they get to erase two X’s from the board (they cannot erase their own Xs; they can erase them both from the same team or one each from different teams. If they make the shot from the 2-point line, they get to erase 4 X’s total from other teams. If they make the shot from the 3-point line, they get to erase 5 X’s total from other teams. If the team answers incorrectly, they must ADD 2 X’s to the board (they cannot add X’s to their own team). The question is then asked to the next team in the sequence until someone gets it right.
- Ask another question to the next team.
- Continue until all questions are asked.
- If a team is eliminated, they are still asked a question. To get back in the game, they must answer the question correctly AND make a 3-point shot. If they do, they get 5 new X’s.
- The winning team is the team with the most X’s at the end of the game—even if it was a team that had been eliminated and came back!