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Every fall, students return to school a little unsure of what to expect from their classes and their peers. For younger children, excitement mingles with fear. Many middle and high school students find that the summer break has weakened the social structure that wields a mighty influence on their lives and are somewhat open to redefining these social boundaries.
This presents an opportunity for educators to re-introduce students to their learning environment and to each other. Many of us are all too familiar with some of the traditional strategies to help introduce new groups that will be working together. One of the worst ways to achieve this goal is the game "Get to Know You Social Bingo." This game and others similar to it are prone to two shortcomings. First, they often provide merely a superficial introduction to one's peers. While this may offer a starting point for conversation, the experience itself usually doesn't provide an opportunity for immediate reflection and exploration. Also, these activities often feel disingenuous and contrived in their efforts which can encumber the goals of building teamwork, understanding, and respect among the students.
As an alternative, there are game designs that incorporate the social interactions of the students as …