I have avoided Four Squares like a plague. Four Squares, I always believed, was in the Hang Man league of games-that-are-fun-but-don’t -teach-anything. Educational cotton candy. Time fillers. Empty calories. Down time. Yada. Yada.
Anyway, my dear charges at Bob the Gorila’s Home for Wayward Skateboarders were treated to a different Spanish teacher last year while I was away reforming the Mexican educational system. Seems the beloved Sra. Alfonsina indulged the students in the black-listed Four Square competition on many occasions. My kids insisted it was fun, safe, low in calories, and why not play it. This plea was heard by my elfantin years 465,987.098 times over the last semester, more or less. I finally relented. The flesh is weak.
I tweaked the rules to the game by re-naming the corners (rincones, accent over the “o” can be applied by magic marker, as I can’t do it with this key board and my limited tech skills) with Spanish vocabulary that we are going to need for the next class story. I pull a stick from the stick jar, and the kid whose stick it is (why, the sticks are numbered!), goes out into the hall way. We run for a corner, all of us, while chanting, “!Vaya,vaya, vaya!” (“Go, go, go”). When we are all in a corner of our choice, pushing and shoving like businessmen on a crowded elevator, we shout, in unison (sounds like the way the Ed McMan always shouted, “Heeeeeeeeere’s Johny!),
“?Queeeeeeeeeeeee rincon?” (“Whaaaaaaat corner?”). Our friend in the hallway, without looking in on us, shouts the name of one of the corners. If he/she/it calls your corner, ya’ll gots to sit down. !Rayos! (either, shoot, darn, snap, drats, or oh man. You pick).
By the time the game was over, the students had shouted/listened to the new vocabulary a few dozen times, atleast. They didn’t even feel like they were learning.
Well, good citizens of Pepinoville, there’s your tax money at work. Stay tuned for a review of our latest class story, a culmanation of four mini-stories, in Spanish, of love and loss.
Progreso para el futuro,