September's game of the month has moved here temporarily while I sort out my PC and try to recover several lost files, including a more finely crafted version of this very game. As well as providing other benefits it is a perfect back-to-school game, allowing you to learn the names of a new class and giving the children the opportunity to remember and reinforce their class identity. Oh, and don't forget to check out the new free music games page on the website.
Duration: 5 - 10 minutes depending on numbers
Age: 6 - 13
Players: the whole class
This is designed for children sitting at desks. Itis not a prerequisite but it is perfect for getting to know a new class and if the children are stationary rather than moving around it can be easier to remember their names. It's very similar to other voice recognition games but is easier because the direction from which a sound comes gives a clue as to its source. I make three claims for it:
1. You will get to know the names of the children.
2. The children's awareness of the others in the class will improve
3. It will improve listening skills
Make sure that any new children are known to the rest of the class. You will need to decide what form of names to use. I suggest the names the children are normally known by in school. (Children from other countries with names that are hard to pronounce are often known by nicknames or the closest local equivalent.) Make it clear that any name-calling will not be tolerated.
· Choose one child to be the first listener. Offer them a blindfold if you like but at any rate they must close their eyes. Select another child to be the first caller. Do this by pointing to them.
· The caller sings the name of the first child who must identify the owner of the voice. If the listener guesses right then they pass the blindfold to the caller. If they guess wrongly the caller sings their name again. If, after three calls the listener has failed to identify to caller, that caller is 'safe' (for the time being at least) and you must choose a new caller.
· When a caller is identified they become the next listener.
· Continue in this manner until everyone has had a go at either calling or listening, if not both.
Tips: A confident child who enjoys high status will make a good first listener, is more likely to wear a blindfold and will set the tone for the rest of the game. However, they may make a poor first caller unless they are confident singers because they will fear losing face.
Although the children are relatively safe because they are seated, it is worth stressing that harassment of anyone wearing a blindfold is completely unacceptable.