Sunday, July 06, 2008

Reflection: Workshop on Games (Primary)

It's one of the unexpected workshop... er... ie. it never crossed my mind that it's something that I would develop... In fact, this workshop 'crossed' a couple of hands before landing on Feena & my laps...

A tough one 'cos
1. I don't play games (in the first place!)!!! Ask someone who's alien to the 'essence' of the workshop to develop it?????
2. It's been quite discouraging when I was "reminded" consistently by my co-developer that the games we play with are very very lame... so much so... that it sounds as if it has no value to look at them at all! Hey, it sounds like I'm working at "2nd class citizen" materials! So, can be depressing!!! It's like, while people already flying, you're still learning to crawl... sigh, sigh, sigh...

Well, such happened here... at level 14... and yes, the workshop's still materialise... hahaha... seems like nothing here is impossible.

On the other hand, because of circumstances, have no choice but really need to fish out as much useful and relevant resources as possible! I must say that really, we are blessed with a wealth of resources, I mean, Maths-related resources! Especially those that cater to the Primary level. Yeap, so much so that unknown to me... I gathered more than 50 that are quite passable, with a few "WOW" ones :D

Of course, nothing beats testing all the ideas that were put together over the past few months! It's one of the earliest submitted for clearance... but it also took the longest time to refine... (just wondering? What if the workshop materials were submitted only a month ago... the outcome of the materials would still be quite similar, but would probably minus the agony & frustration, having to refine over and over again...

On the 'game' day... the first time for Maths workshops (except the e-Learning one), we did the BINGO activity... yes, yes, I know it... participants would ask... what's the purpose of playing the activity? Isn't it a waste of time (yeap, precisely, that's also what I thought of, too). In fact, one of the participants asked if there's any prizes to be rewarded... Well, thinking on my feet... I replied, "The best reward comes with the widened network that you have... getting to know colleagues around you..." Isn't that powerful? Of course, to help us make the activity meaningful to ourselves (the trainers), we used some of the components to connect participants to the topic for the day - what traditional games do they play? 5 stones? Snake and ladder, etc... till seeing their children (or some of them) playing the PSP!

Really, the grouping activity is the one using the rafia strings - that turned out to be quite refreshing to most participants, so much so that one of them wrote in the 3-2-1 that she liked the activity... well, well... isn't a game too? (when trainer's objective is to do grouping).

Quite a fair bit of time was spent on exploration, which to my surprise that so many of them were engaged (or should I say, they're immersed) in these games! Yes, the protected time for them to find some thrill while planning something for their students! I'm both amazed and amused! Somehow, the sense of satisfaction slowly felt...

Of course, we also managed to introduce a few new things to them - GoogleDoc (that definitely have aroused the interest in some of them) and Wiki (that is new to almost everyone!). To our pleasant surprise, this is done with little pain during the workshop :D Was it because it's simply that easy? or we've successful break it into digestible and manageable parts?

Yeap, enthusiasm elicit enthusiasm... hm... it's contagious, too!

In the 2nd session, tried another strategy... that's modified from "Send the Problem". Participants gave feedback to others' work on cards... yes, it's equivalent to posting comments (that we tried in our past workshops), that this time went by the 'old' technology - pen & paper. After the participants had written, they 'posted' their cards to the envelopes (marked with the group name). Then, we the trainers became the postman... Ah ha...we re-lived the good old times... a check with the participants showed that most of stopped writing and posting letters. Many have turned to email nowadays.

We also changed the sequence of the activity, which allows us to 'buy time'... in fact... this change made the flow of the activities more natural, too...
  • After the groups had crafted the lesson plan - they would be able to surface any concerns or potential problems if they were to conduct the lesson.
  • Then it's timely for them to do a think-pair-share to pen down some of their thoughts.
  • While we look at their inputs, they can (at the same time) look at other group's lesson plans and provide feedback.
  • Then the trainers take over the session to respond to the concerns raised.
On the whole, it went on well... yes, not to forget mentioning the laughters and fun that Sabrina and Irene had injected in the 2 sessions... Yes, I enjoyed the workshop... not just as a trainer, but the kind of synergy and connectedness with the participants... Hm... A pat on my shoulder... A pat on everyone's shoulders :D

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