Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Bonnell School’

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On Tuesday 22nd January The Department Store Game left its development home at Sarah Bonnells School and went on tour to Eastlea School. Our wonderful Year 11 co-developees: Chanelle, Timera, Mollie, Zelda, Olamide, Shannon and Rochelle (all pictured) took the game into a group of 40 Year 9 business studies students and played the full game with them for 2 hours.

Variations in the original game now included a timed decision-making system when a bell dinged every time and ‘hour’ went past (usually about 5-7 minutes) and a new and improved use of the decision and finance cards.

After the game some of the players commented on how they enjoyed it:

“I learnt how to handle decisions and situations, share jobs and work out solutions.” Rubecca

“I learnt different types of managers and how many are needed in one department store.” Glancy

“I learned how to make important decsions on the spot and how to think like a manager.” Lee

(I enjoyed) “The level of communication & teamwork it prompts.” Hazel-anne

(Is the game like real life in a department store?) “Yes a lot because the game was hectic and stressful.” Ardita

And our Game Guides from Sarah Bonnell were equally buoyant:

“I learnt that I can be a leader.” Rochelle

(I learnt) “That I can put myself out without being conscious of myself.” Mollie

“I leant that I can overcome my shyness.” Timera

“I can control a group of girls / boys, confident and I’m a good leader.” Shannon

The girls are now keen to go on to another school and we’re hoping to get them a gig at Langdon. Keep watching 🙂

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On the 29th June the Department Store Game got its first big outing and major test.

We took it to Sarah Bonnell School and it was run with 180 Year 10 girls then 150 or so Year 9’s. The year groups were split into classrooms and each room had 3-4 groups in with two Game Co-ordinators overseeing and helping out. The Game Co-ordinators were chosen from the Year 10 girls that had seen the game before and were familiar with how it worked. It was a big ask to get these girls to help run the game as they would have to not only remember how it worked, but also take on board the changes that had been made and also be able to help the groups, who were starting from scratch.

I was looking for two things on the day: one was for the Game Co-ordinators to be able to take on the responsibility of their role and assist the groups. The other was for the game to be robustly tested and to gain lots of feedback about teething issues and changes.

Outcome one was really lovely to see. Most of the girls stuck at their task to co-prdinate the game, though they found it harder to manage their own peer group than the Year 9’s that followed. They all got a silver SCEP certificate and they were all pretty proud that they’d stuck it out!

As for outcome two? Well – I got loads of useful feedback from the co-ordinators about the difficulties they had with explaining the game and the stumbling points. The game is by no means ready to take to a wider audience yet, Sarah Bonnells very kindly offered their girls to test it on. I have got a few quite large changes I want to make to it now and we hatched a plan to run the new, improved version in another school – ably assisted by the Game Co-ordinators who were keen to continue to help develop it.

The Department Store Game was tested at Sarah Bonnell School this week with the aim of seeing if it was engaging enough for a group of students to get into.

There’s basically two aspects to the game: making management decisions and managing finances. Both aspects were well and truly tested and some lovely elements revealed themselves that I shall definitely being incorporating.

During the finance aspect of the game, the students get to roll a dice to determine either a % increase or decrease in takings. Much debate ensues as to who gets to roll the dice and how they employ the support of their various Gods / lucky charms / mystical entities to get the required number. I noticed this was a real aid to gelling the team and enabled them to get into the game quite quickly.

The other part of the game required the team to make decisions about various scenarios that might happen in a department store. The scenarios were basic outlines of a situation and the team had to decide what to do next.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that in many cases the scenarios really did require further clarity and, as a result, getting the team to establish exactly what was happening was both educational and very entertaining!

The testing also provided me with a better understanding of the playability of the whole game and so there are a number of tweaks and changes that will be made before its roll out at the end of June.

I am currently planning a game for Sarah Bonnell School to play during one of their drop down days at the end of next term. You may have read that I’ve been planning to put together a ‘Day in the life of a Department Store’ experience for some time so this seems like the perfect opportunity to develop this idea.

But what format to use?

I originally thought I would go down the route of role play during a staff meeting but am now thinking that could require a huge amount of reading and understanding on the part of each player prior to starting the game. Now I have widened my thinking out a little more and begun to generate ideas for formats using familiar games that everyone knows such as:

Twister, Mousetrap, Monopoly, Cranium and my favourite as a child – Buccaneer. But it needs to be a ‘travel through’ type of game where the journey has a start and an end and where a team can work together to complete the task. But each team has a different experience that they can then talk about afterwards. It was then I thought of good old Game of Life.

With its overriding purpose, decisions and general randomness it could describe any experience of any working person in the UK – I think I’m onto something . . .

I am very much looking forward to developing additional resources for one of our longstanding projects:

‘Retail Theatre’ evolved out of the Year 9 Retail Taster Days and has been amazingly successful in building awareness of the opportunities and pathways in the retail sector.  Students were so enthused by the experience that many of them expressed a desire to find out more information about career options. Student feedback comments included: “Learning about the design and layouts of shops was really interesting”, “It’s hard work and we learned about what shops need” and “I am definitely thinking about retail now”.

Please click to download the 2010 full project report: 2.9 Retail Theatre Resource V2

I am especially looking forward to developing additional angles to Retail Theatre with Deborah Millington who has been instrumental in its success over the years. Deborah is a Director of Red Border Ltd who are a specialist visual merchandising company who, along with their own consultancy and commissions, also run an educational programme raising awareness of the scope of the retail industry. Red Border Ltd

I met Deborah last week and was inspired by her passion for the exciting world of retail and feel sure we can dream up some additional activities to complement what’s already on offer. So I’m thinking something interactive, something that involves teamwork, something that offers a real insight and hands on experience of an aspect of retail.

Hmmm . . .