One of my favorite non-academic aspects of the school I teach at is an event known as Game night. Game nights are hosted by our librarian (who is also a personal friend of mine) along with the student president of her library club, VHS Crew. Game nights have brought me nothing but joy because it is a time to have fun with students after school is over.
Game nights usually occur after a Friday night Football home game (though in the Winter/Spring it’s usually just on a Friday evening) and last until about 10 pm. The librarian has several board and card games in the library, but students can also bring their own games, including video games. Snacks are usually brought in as well, and sometimes our librarian even gets local places to donate snacks or food. They aren’t regularly scheduled, but they happen at least once per nine weeks. Mostly I supervise though students occasionally invite me to play too.
The last one this year happened just after Parent/Teacher conferences. It was already going to be a long day, since Parent/Teacher Conferences occur immediately after school, and this meant staying even later. Our principal looked at those of us staying like we were crazy, but I told him we’d power through.
“Besides, it makes more sense to stay even later tonight while we’re already here versus having to come up tomorrow in the evening.” We had the Friday of Parent/Conference week off and I did NOT want to come back on my day off. I knew the feeling was the same for the other teacher chaperones. I had extra cans of Dr. Pepper anyway, so I knew I’d be fine.
That night we set up in the gym with all kinds of board and card games. There were students playing ball on the court and a few had even brought gaming devices to project onto a screen or the wall. After doing my duty as a chaperone and walking among the students and helping set up, I joined some of my AP Language students for a game of UNO. I hadn’t played in years, but it isn’t a game you forget. No, the problem comes from house rules, but we made sure to all be on the same page prior to the dealing of cards.
I played UNO with my students for at least an hour. As with most UNO games, we eventually started messing with each other and it was every student and teacher for themselves. There were tenuous alliances that, as soon as the cards started to shift in one person’s favor, would be broken.
One student, a boy from my fifth block, could not pick up a red card to save his life and I picked up on that pattern pretty quickly. He was seated to my left and, as the turns came back around to us, I watched as he placed a blue three on top of a red three.
I smirked as I dropped a Wild Card on the top of the stack: “Red!”
He howled, leaning back in his chair, “Stop making it red!”
Every time it went back around, I did my best to make it a red hand, and we all laughed about it.
Eventually we moved on to other games, but I probably had the most fun with UNO. Plans were made to host a final game night of the year on April 10, but with everything going on I don’t know if that will happen. Granted, as of this posting our our state DOES plan to resume schools before then, so the game night might be on as well. I’m doubtful. But if we don’t go back, I might reach out to the librarian and try to figure out some way of doing an online game night.