A Murder Most Heinous

“What?!” you gasp, reeling from the news, for how could it be true.

“Dr. Black is dead?”

Days, weeks, maybe even just moments later, your thoughts return to the circumstances surrounding Dr. Black’s death. Isn’t it suspicious that a classy, social climber like Miss Scarlett would find herself snooping around in the basement? And why aren’t the local police force taking an interest in this case? Something fishy is going on and anyone aged eight or above should be interested in finding out what.

At least this was the premise behind introducing Cluedo, or Clue, to my students in Chengdu. But why introduce it at all? This goes back to a particular event taking place at my ESL school, Vertigo.

We had an entire week of “homestay”, or living with your teacher, to bat activities around. There were only so many times we could get the kids to race through activities like making the bed (a great game by the way), formal lessons, exploratory walks through the neighbourhood, and craft sessions. Most of these tending to be appropriate only during the day (see photos below). So then, what to do with long evenings? Board games.

I was fortunate to be working with Yoyo, a passionate language teacher of vivacious character. We had been teaching phonics together and had been focused on developing educational activities for the kids that would engage and interest the children. We were teaching kids aged from 3 to 9. Due to a lack of English language comprehension in our students we found that physical activities with verbal prompts produced a better level of engagement as well as a higher frequency of use. We saw this as using language in context. Games became a cornerstone in our teaching methods.

Many of our activities were site based and used the materials immediately available to us. So in that respect we didn’t always need to create materials. For the youngest children, learning the interplay of nouns and verbs meant following instructions or giving instructions that resulted in funny outcomes. Sometimes this was revealing of the children’s perspective, many children loved saying things like, “Can you stand on the table?” because it was strictly prohibited otherwise. Or, as in the case of one little boy, “Can you kiss Teacher Sharon?” displaying what we supposed was an infant crush.

We had began moving to board games after we had played around for some time with floor mats. We had began looking at classic games and because of the upcoming “homestay” excursion, an oxymoron I know, I put together an adaptation of Cluedo which is available here for download.

The purpose of recreating it was simple; to fill time. The idea of teaching vocabulary was actually secondary and a bit naughty of me. I should have adapted the language to be simpler but became carried away.

The primary school children enjoyed playing the game and picked it up well with supervision. However I would recommend adapting the vocabulary further if you have the time and means to do so.

I’m providing in indesign file (via MEGA) and a PDF. The indesign file would require Adobe software to edit but if you are looking for a quick fix, the PDF should suit you fine. In either case, the file was designed to be printed on A4 paper then stuck together. We laminated ours.

Good luck solving that crime!