DETAIL NOTE: Jumbo Bananagrams are 3.5 inch vinyl squares (tiles) with letters on them - about 140 tiles. Keep an eye on Amazon, they often have them on sale. (If it's not in your budget to get the Bananagrams, make a set of 140 index card letters - be creative with colors and the numbers of each letter. Think, more vowels)
PROGRAMMING NOTE: I don't often include competitive games in my team building programs (so many other things to do), but I like the design of this one (e.g., lots of teams) and the learnings I can speak to (e.g., roles and responsibilities - this comes up in the video). And, once the basic (competitive) version of the game is understood, I can move into a couple other versions to spark some other learnings - stay tuned for more posts on these!!
Set-Up Place all the letter tiles, face down, on the floor. Then, divide your larger group into smaller teams of 2 to 4 players. Using one set of Jumbo Bananagrams, you don't want more than eight teams and, I would say, no less than four - just to keep things interesting.
The first team to find a way to use all their letters (in one or more words, following the Scrabble-like puzzle format), shouts out, "Take Two!" (this is shouted by the "caller" - more on this below). When this is called, someone (the "runner" - more on this below) from each team must go to the letter pool and pick up two more tiles (without looking at them), and then bring them back to his/her team. Once back to the team, they can look at the letters on the tiles.
NOTE: There have been games I've facilitated where three or four minutes have gone by in the first or second rounds (teams are working with only seven or nine letters) and no one can use all their letters. When this has happens, I call, "Take Two!" so teams can get more resources to work with. So, if a round is going on too long, go ahead and call it.
Now, each team must incorporate these two new letters into their Scrabble-like puzzle. Maybe they can be added to the words already in their puzzle (e.g., adding an "S" to the end of a word). Maybe they will have to rearrange their full collection of letters to form all new words. In the end, the objective is the same. Each team must use all their letters to form words into a Scrabble-like puzzle formation.
As the game goes on, any team that uses all their letters calls out, "Take Two!" until all the tiles in the letter pool are gone. At this point, when a team uses all the letters in their possession, they call, "Done!" Done means that all word building must stop - it does not mean "game over!" Players may not touch any letter tiles when done is called, but they can still focus on their puzzle. The team that called "done" must have their words checked by the facilitator. If all words are acceptable (in most cases I play by Scrabble rules, in some cases I'm more flexible), then the call is, "Game Over - the winner is...." If there is a mistake in the puzzle, the facilitator calls, "Game On" and word building can continue until someone calls, "Done!" again. When a team can present their puzzle with acceptable words, they are declared the winners of said game. Of course, when there is time, a new game can be set up to play.
So, those are the basics!
Take Two Team Building
In the video (below) you'll be able to pick up a team building (learning) aspect of the game that I've recently incorporated. I learned this from my CrowdWords friends (see post HERE) Matthew and Trevor (noted above). When they are playing their version of Take Two (using CrowdWords cards), they assign roles and responsibilities to players. There are "builders" - players that focus on building the words in the puzzle. There are "callers" - a player who is responsible for calling out "Take Two!" with gusto. And, there is a "runner" - a player who is responsible for going to the letter pool and picking up two letter tiles and bringing them back to his/her team after "take two" is called.
As in any team task, roles and responsibilities can be shared or they can be exclusive - if you are assigned a role, that is your only responsibility. Depending on the number of players on a team, there might be enough people for each role and there might be players who take on more than one role (e.g., anyone can be a builder).
Processing When you use roles and responsibilities, you can talk about how this played out and where else this plays out for team members. What role did you take in the game and how did it influence your level of participation? Did you chose your role or did someone else choose it for you? Did players stay within the boundaries of their roles? Why? Why not? Was your role clear to you? If it wasn't clear, what did you do about it?
I also like to talk about the concepts of winning and losing - What do we learn from each concept? How do we treat our opponents? Can we have a game if we don't have competitors? What is the role of competition in our lives? Is it useful? Is it damaging? What if all competition went away, what would our lives be like? Who likes this type of (spelling) game? Why? Who does not like this kind of game? Why? What choices do we have when we're playing in a "game" we don't want to be in?
Stay Tuned for More!
In my next Blog post, I'll share a little wrinkle I tried out with Take Two right after the Crew in the video learned the basics.
Big Thanks Again to Kim the Crew for letting me film this adventure!! You're the BEST!
Keep me posted my friends.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
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Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.