My students come from varying socioeconomic backgrounds, but most tend to hover in middle to low income. My rural based school does a great job of trying to keep students connected after hours with many after school groups. My after school group is a pretty even mixture of girls and boys of all middle school ages. I maintain a safe and welcoming environment for kids to interact which keeps them coming back.
My after school group facilitates social interaction away from screens while fostering the ability to work as a team, show grit, and think creatively.
My students recruit others who end up bringing their own interests to the group for the better. Students have been able to make new and strong bonds with others inside and outside of their grade because they have time to interact outside of an academic framework.
I end up having as much fun as the kids. I don't just facilitate; I join in the experience with them. Students like to see their teacher in a different light and after school activities are a fantastic opportunity.
Last year my campaign was met with incredible generosity and excitement. I would like to continue that momentum by expanding my game library and resources to reach more students. Dungeons & Dragons has become a massive success at school to the point where I am running two separate campaigns for 15 students plus another 15 plus students who come to play board games. The group is now in its third year and continues to grow.
Students who wouldn't normally hang out or meet now have an opportunity to interact.
Dungeons and Dragons has worked as a nice intersection of academics and gaming. Students need to use skills related writing, critical thinking, interpersonal, and social studies(map reading) among others to succeed and immerse themselves in the world. Today (9/4/19) as I held the inaugural board game club of the new school year, a student was crafting his character's backstory with care and deep interest for the final fifteen minutes of our session. I would like this interest and effort to continue so to help that I would like to add more resources. The books and dice are a cost many cannot afford so I would like to gain a few dedicated copies. The games I have picked out are to fill out a more introductory feel to games. I now have two years of veteran middle school gamers, but we continually have new members who only know Monopoly and Clue. These games are wonderful gateways to gaming beyond while still providing a challenge to current, long time members.
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