WCDS WPG 2017 Week 1 – Riding High

Students playing the world peace game

It’s only been about 11 months since our last iteration of the World Peace Game, and here we are again taking on problems that would make President Bartlett sweat. We have some new crises this year, including a potentially catastrophic space disaster and even a controversial violation of international law, but the kids are undeterred. They have peppered me with questions in preparation for opening day, and I rarely feel so important as when I’ve reached the end of a class period having answered every question with minimal sleeping students, hoarse throated and walking out of the room while flashbulbs pop in my mind. Wow, TMI, right? Just a little bonus glimpse into this swirling mind, I guess.

Anyway, let’s talk about game day one. We began this year’s game a little differently, with mindfulness strategies supplementing Sun Tzu quote breakdowns and even a mock crisis in the weeks leading to the big day. Then, yesterday, I read aloud each crisis so as to give the dignitaries a sense of how one connects to another, and then passed out the secret dossiers. We had about 15 minutes left in class, so a truncated session was launched. I think I finished the word ‘outside’ before half the class was in the courtyard debating their gut reactions to problems and immediately arguing over who had been working the hardest in the group. It was a sight to see! Kids running from classroom to ‘Giving Tree’ to stone table and back again relaying messages and brokering deals. The day ended with more than one resolution in progress, and even one official handshake deal documented on camera. Will it last? We have little in writing so I guess time will tell…

This game is so fantastic. I love the energy and engagement the kids display, and I have to admit, the hardest thing about the game for me is my not being allowed to play. Not that I couldn’t rewrite some rules, I suppose, but I have a feeling a successful military coup would be looming if I somehow weaseled my way into power. Until next week, keep up to date by subscribing to our relaunched podcast, WCDS Cougar Casts, on iTunes and Soundcloud (more will be coming throughout the spring and into next year), or just listen right here at the bottom of this post.

Here’s to peace on Earth and handshakes holding firm…

-Mr. H