Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Anger Management: Indian Giver

Ms. B and I went into our most recent group session knowing it would either go great or go horribly awry. Of course, when a game is called "Out of Control," you're probably asking for trouble playing it with a bunch of emotionally disturbed boys. The purpose of the game is to make the players live by rules they have no control over, and subsequently manage their emotions/feelings. I don't have a link to the game since Ms. B found it in an activity book, but here is the description:

To play "Out of Control," wrap several small age-appropriate prizes in wrapping paper [we had things like a pencil sharpener & pencils, a Goosebumps book, a cool calculator, a mini Lego set, etc]. Get at least as many prizes as they are kids. You will also need a pair of dice. The game will be played in two parts, but only explain the first part. Let the students take turns rolling dice. When a child rolls a double [the game took too long with doubles, we used 6+ as our criteria], he chooses a prize (and does not open it) from the table and places it in front of him. If he does not roll a double, his turn is over. Play until all prizes are claimed.

For the second part, set a timer for 10 minutes [or whatever you choose based on your time limit] and tell the players that in this round, rolling a double will let them take a prize from another person. End the game when the timer goes off. Some kids will have more than one prize and others may have none.
The first round of the game went, understandably, great. Each boy picked a prize that they were happy with. When we began the second round, they were able to control themselves relatively well as their classmates "stole" their presents. The main problem was that there was one prize the boys all wanted (minus A, who was happily switching his prize back and forth with one of the unclaimed ones whenever he rolled 6+... he didn't get it). When the second round ended and the coveted prize was claimed, mild hell broke loose. All the boys were upset they didn't get it, and no one was really happy with the prizes they did end up with, since it wasn't that one. V calmly took the calculator apart and G threw the Goosebumps book. Precious. So, my biggest recommendation if you're going to replicate the game: wrap all the prizes in same size boxes, exactly the same way, so what the prize actually is gets disguised.

Because of the upset after the prizes were taken, we were unable to really process the group. Ideally, we would've asked how the boys felt when their prizes were stolen and they weren't in control, what they did to manage their anger, and if they didn't, what they could've done differently. Instead, we slinked out of the classroom while Mrs. C got the boys back on track.

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