About 6 months ago, I was trying to think of a way I can add more time to use games in my studio. I hold group lessons and camps throughout the year and occasionally we will have some time in a lesson, but I have so many games that I have not even touched yet! I knew how beneficial games can be. They can create lightbulb moments, they help assess understanding, they are tactile, they teach life skills and learning experiences and so much more.
At the same time, I also wanted to create an environment where students can listen to each other and give and receive peer input on the pieces they are practicing. Because I already did groups and camps and I wasn’t quite ready to change my entire lesson format, I came up with Mastermind lesson.
This week was our first week of mastermind lessons. Scheduled 4 times a year, students still come on their regular lesson day/time. Most of my students are usually here for an hour (rotating between 2-3 stations), so during that hour we just partnered up. Half of the lesson hour was playing our practiced pieces for each other in a “light” masterclass setting where they would also give each other input. The other half hour was spent playing theory games.
With some partners, the peer review was something they were a little hesitant with. So I did my best to help by asking guiding questions. I teach a lot of siblings and knew that with some, the peer review could get out of hand. You know your students and can usually predict which ones this would happen with so it is best to provide some guidelines at the beginning so nobody is left with hurt feelings.
My favorite experience happened when one of my students took on the teacher role with a student who was playing a piece that she was only able to work on for a couple days. She took on the teacher role with kindness and it was well received. I just had to capture the moment.
Then it was game time! Of course, this is the favorite part for students. I had a few games planned as I knew that it would vary on how long the games would take depending on who was partnered up. With some groups, we only had time for one, with others we had time for all 3. One of the games that we played was the new, Boom, Zap, POW! Included in the A.N.T.H.E.M. program but also available separately. It was a hit!
Just a little tip for those who have this game- I found it best to print two copies of the boom, zap, pow page and then just use 2 of the boom cards, 4 of the zap and 4 of the pow. My students also came up with some variations that I may just have to add as well. Feel free to add your own variations if you want!
All and all our first mastermind lesson was a success and I look forward to the others that are scheduled this year.