«Masters of Leisure Time», a teaching deck builder to enrich our students’ free time.

Hello everyone,

In this post, I want to share an activity that could help or inspire some teachers who are thinking of bringing a new activity to their classroom in the first days of the next academical year (2018/19). I will be talking about some teaching design reasons that we all must be aware of to build our own Cards Game.

Despite the pedagogical aspects, the material that I am presenting to you could also make your first lesson a bit more engaging, or, at least, a little bit different. Especially at the beginning of the course -this moment when there are new students in the classroom and there is a clear need of some help to know and get along with each other (the evolution of their preferences, their likes and dislikes, how they spent their free time in summer and what else they can do, or consider to do, in a near future, etc.)

Finally, I also believe that this activity could help new teachers to introduce themselves to the classroom whenever they consider it is a good time to talk about adult hobbies and, maybe, share our experiences with the little adults that we are upgrowing in the class.


All the cards were made using the software called «Magic Set Editor». I also uploaded a pdf document that you can find in the «Downloads«, and there you have the complete Deck of Cards that I have created using that tool. As always, all the pictures are protected under some creative commons because they all come from my own work. I am not saying that you cannot use them, but just consider carefully whether these photos, myself, or my friends are good enough for your lessons,… or you better build your own deck 😉

Planning the activity.

After reading the Catalan ESO Curriculum again and again (https://goo.gl/W9gHph), I realized that one of the most important and basic goals that our students should accomplish is to excel their relation with the environment (culturally, socially and ecologically speaking) and their better personal growth and social integration.

Those goals are supposed to be fulfilled with the acquisition of some basic and transversal competencies and also others more specific ones. I am referring to those competencies categorised as the «Communicative» (linguistic communication), «Methodological» (learning on how to learn), and «Personal» (autonomy and driving any initiative) -as those concerning the basic competencies.

Nonetheless, we also need to consider the more specific competencies that are focused on our students’ knowledge and interaction with the physical world, and the ones that will boost their social skills.

Designing the activity.

So, inspired by the teacher and the content of the course «Exploring Britain» (Sindicat de Professors de Secundària, teacher Mª Rosa Calzada Vitoria), I decided to create a Cards Game. My main goal with the implementation of this activity is to support our students’ personal growth. And I planned it taking into account the Bloom’s Taxonomy and all the needed steps to make sure that we will start practising the basic thinking skills (Knowledge, Comprehension and Application) and, later on in the same lesson, the game procedures will take us to the superior thinking skills (Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation).

For those teachers who want to know the Bloom’s main ideas that helped me to design the didactics for this Cards Game, I only can say that I followed these 4 simple steps:

  1. Before our students can understand a concept, they must remember it.
  2. To apply a concept, they must first understand it.
  3. In order to evaluate a concept, they must have analyzed it.
  4. To create an accurate conclusion, they must have completed a thorough evaluation.

The rules.

Once in the classroom, I would organize the big group into small groups of four students. Each small group has a deck of cards. They shuffle it and share out all the cards faced down with all members (the total number of cards should be at least twenty, each player five)

In the following paragraphs, I have divided the possible games that you can play in order (following our goal to match the Bloom’s Taxonomy of every learning process with each game). Every game it is defined by its own «Victory Conditions». In the Gaming theory, those conditions are the answers to the questions that every player might ask at the beginning of every play:

  • What is my goal?
  • Why am I doing specific actions?
  • How do I win?

So, instead of describing all the rules that these «games» follow, I have decided to give you an overview of the structure and the sequence presenting their Victory Conditions.

1. Vocabulary Victory Conditions.

The winner is the student (one student in every group of four members) that ends the play in time with more vocabulary words related to the activities of the cards that he or she is playing. The feelings that I am trying to provoke among my students is the necessity of reading and learning more new words in English (we need vocabulary!) to get more victory points.

In this activity, we are located in the very bottom of the Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students only need to identify, make lists, name ideas or concepts, select the words from their own vocabulary, recall, etc.) We also are working Comprehension, in the second level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, as far as we consider that they need to distinguish and locate the known words to describe -in their mind- the activities shown in their cards.

2. One of each Victory Conditions.

Individually, the winner in each small group will be the first who collects at least one card of each type of activity (individual activity, group activity, inside activity, outdoor activity). The mechanics would go this way: the first player chooses one card of his hand and reads out loud its information to the members of the group. The «listeners» have to decide whether they want that card or not. If anyone wants it, he or she has to choose one card of his own and read its information to the first player. If they both agreed on changing the cards mentioned, they do so. If not, the new turn is for the next player on the right of the first player.

The experience that I want my students to have is a particular one: I need them to consider different kinds of activities that we can do in our free time. And I also want them to start feeling their necessity to be ready to argue their choices anytime that they decide to consider an «inside activity» as if it were an «outdoors» one.

In this activity, we are practising the recognition, the reading, the listening, and some deducting skills that rises our level in the Bloom’s Taxonomy thinking skills. We are grasping the meaning of the activities by distinguishing and interpreting what we listen and trying to condense the characteristics mentioned into different possible categories of activities, as those which we mentioned above. In other words, we are starting to Analyze the information that we receive in order to collect and appreciate the diversity of activities that we can do in our spare time.

3. The Coolest hobby Victory Conditions.

Every player chooses only two cards. The cards they do not need have to be collected by the teacher. The winner will be the group (now they play together against other small groups) that is able to impress everybody else in the class inventing 4 new cards (trying to describe the coolest activities ever thought) based on the cards that they have in hand. All their new four cards should fall into a different category (individual, group, inside and outdoors).

Now we are trying to let them experience the feeling of belonging to a group. Students must collaborate now, and they should play against a concrete time limit (a good ratio could be 4 minutes for each new card). Some students will show in this activity a creating skill that can enhance and engage them in the activity, the game and their group.

Speaking of the Bloom’s Taxonomy, with this activity we are practising the mixing, the experimentation, the small group debate, the comparisons between alternatives. This is what happens when we practice the Analysis skill. Moreover, in this mini-game, we are also forcing our students to solve a problem that they would assume as their problem. They will realise about the need to manage, formulate, plan, assemble and construct some original and creative thinking to come up with their solutions.

4. The Queen is bored Victory Conditions.

The teacher has to act as if he or she was the Queen of Great Britain. The Queen is bored and the winner group is the one that will convince the Queen to follow their leisure time activities plan.

The feeling that we want to generate playing this mini-game is the one that sums up the proposal of our playing experience: the urgent need to be the coolest should drive the need to be the chosen by the Queen and create an atmosphere in the classroom that allows every student to feel their contributions as the most important business ever.

In this activity, firstly we want to promote our students’ knowledge and comprehension. They should remember and distinguish, and select the coolest activities or modify them using new ideas, and thus they would be practising skills in the application level of the Bloom’s Taxonomy. It is also important to mention that our students will be working their Analysis skills, understanding the content and the structure implied in the activities of each card. And last, but not least, the Synthesis skills are also considered in the design of this mini-game: they should formulate new structures from existing knowledge and skills to demonstrate why their proposal is the best and get the victory points.

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Este sitio usa Akismet para reducir el spam. Aprende cómo se procesan los datos de tus comentarios.