I introduced a new game with my 8th graders yesterday. It is always hard to know whether a game will be a hit or a flop, so I was surprised by the enthusiasm with which they received this very simple activity.
The instructions are very simple: the students are to count a range of numbers, say from 1 -20, 100 and up or whatever you choose (I am also planning to use letters of the alphabet, simple German verb conjugations etc.). Instead of having an order of which student goes when, they are to say the number out when it feels like it's their turn. The only rule is that if two students speak at the same time, they have to start over.
As I was watching the 8th grade, I saw just how deeply this game meets the children. For one, it is a rhythmical activity which helps them relax into class. They also have to get very still, listening to each other. This prepares them extremely well for the rest of class. Finally, the children love a challenge, and this game sets the tone for trying to do better all the time, an element that I have found can be challenging for some of the students.
So this one was a winner which we will be playing regularly.