Making Learning the Parishes Fun
Is that possible?
The following idea grew out of a need to fill time in a Louisiana-based geography enrichment class. I wanted the students to know how to say the parish names and known what part of the state they were located in. Now after 18 weeks of "field" testing the game is ready to go public. We have now discussed with a Louisiana company the possibility of manufacturing the game.
The game is based on the popular UNO card game and you can make it yourself in the classroom in one or two class periods.
Step 1 - Purchase several packs of small unlined index cards.
Step 2 - Have students draw the outline of a single parish in the center of each card.
Step 3 - Label the cards, top and bottom with the parish name, making the first letter larger and open-faced (outline) style.
Step 4 - Divide the parish cards based on the Louisiana Tourism divisions. We use "North Louisiana", "Central Louisiana", "Southwest", "Southeast", and "Florida Parishes". You can subdivide them any way you want. We even tried "Acadian Louisiana".
Step 5 - Color each group of parishes a different color. Color the first letter to match, such as: "Caddo".
Step 6 - Create the necessary "Wild cards, Draw two, Draw four, Skip and Reverse cards. Divide and color code them as in the UNO game.
Step 7 - Shuffle the cards.
Rules: These are easy. Most kids know how to play the game.
1. Deal each player seven cards.
2. Turn remaining cards face down.
3. Using whatever students agree on, decide who goes first.
4. Turn over the top card in the stack and begin play.
5. To play a card the student MUST say the parish name correctly and tell which part of the state it is located in.
6. If a student misses any part of #5, they must draw two cards.
7. Cards are put down based on matching color or first letter of the name (word) on the card.
8. Turns go in one direction until a reverse card is played at which time the order is "reversed".
9. When a student plays their next-to-last card they must say "LOUISIANA". If someone says it before them, they must draw two more cards.
10. If the stack of cards is depleted before someone wins, reshuffle the deck and keep going.
11. The winner is the first player to play all their cards.
12. For rules disputes, use the rules from UNO.
My students have become very good at saying the names of some of Louisiana's toughest parishes. They also can tell you where they all are. Now they have made the game tougher by requiring each player to name exact locations (Northeast, Delta, Next to Atchafalaya Bay). Sometimes they even require the player to name a "next door neighbor" parish.
This game has become a great reward, a lesson used on days before a holiday, or when an unexpected assembly, field trip, or such takes lots of kids from a class.
Now if I can just make learning about Bienville, the Civil War, and the Reformers, this much "fun".
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