Episode Transcript
Ixchell Reyes 0:02
The DIESOL podcast

Brent Warner 0:03
Developing Innovation in English as a Second or Other Language,

Ixchell Reyes 0:07
Episode 80 English WarGames with Sallie Finklea.

Brent Warner 0:25
Welcome to DIESOL This is episode 80. We are your hosts. I’m Brent Warner.

Ixchell Reyes 0:30
And I’m Ixchell Reyes, and by the time you listen to this episode, I will be… somewhere in the world.

Brent Warner 0:36
Oh yeah, you can’t say though yet, you’ll see. You’ll see when you’re physically

Ixchell Reyes 0:42
back fall. Semester going, Brent,

Brent Warner 0:47
it’s good. I am actively integrating chat GPT into my class. It’s gonna ask about that. So it’s, it’s all kinds of interesting. There’s how,

Ixchell Reyes 1:00
how our colleagues or colleagues aware of my colleagues, my in my circles, I just feel like we’re gonna hear about it in two years, hoping that it won’t take that long, but

Brent Warner 1:15
it’s interesting. So we’ve got some colleagues are scared of it. Some are really trying to get it. Get into it. If you go and listen, there’s an episode on the other podcast, the higher ed tech podcast to do that. Yeah, there’s a couple of ones about chat GPT. Now at this point, so if you’re interested in kind of some integration into the classroom conversation, so yeah, it’s going. It’s, you know, it’s gonna be messy in different ways. But it is interesting.

Ixchell Reyes 1:42
We’ll have to have an episode about what students are saying, because I’m curious what their thoughts are, and where it seems to be expanding the most. And then, I’m sure in a couple months, we’re gonna see other tools available for us to work with GPT and

Brent Warner 2:00
AI. I don’t know there are some things already going on. So let’s talk about that soon. I think it’ll it’ll be a bit near near. It’s a big, big, big conversation. So we need to do more than just the one conversation on it. But oh, yeah, knowing but we’ll jump into it soon. Where are we today? What’s up today show?

Ixchell Reyes 2:18
Well, I am super excited today because I we have a special guests. Today we have Sallie Finklea. I met Sallie at work. And she’s an amazing educator. So let me give her a proper introduction. Sallie is an easel instructor with experience teaching both K through 12 and adults in multinational classrooms with students from over 40 countries. She enjoys reading and hiking and hopes to visit all the Texas Hill Country state parks this year. So she is also in Texas. And she’s from Texas, right Sallie? Yes, I am. There she is. Yeah. So a little bit about Sallie, I had heard about this training she did. And I couldn’t attend her training on one of our professional development days. And it was called the English war games. And of course, I’m like What English WarGames it is this verse, it sounds like a game. And I’m into gamification. So I want to, I want to know more about it. And then I got a chance to observe in her classroom. And I wish I had been there the whole week, because I really wanted to see it from beginning to end. And so this is an approach that I haven’t seen. And I think there’s plenty of people out there who might get tons of ideas from this. And I’ve been wanting to have her on the show forever. So we’re really lucky to have her. So without further ado, Sallie Finlkea.

Brent Warner 3:40
Sallie. Hi. So this is exciting. For for both of us, Ixchell told me a little bit about it, but she kind of kept me kind of in the dark because she’s like, well, then we can ask more questions and figure it out when we’re when we’re talking together. But it does sound really interesting, this, this concept of the WarGames and, and I’m really happy again, this idea of just like what are people doing that’s innovating out there trying to bring in different ideas into the classroom. And so I think it feels like a perfect fit so, so but I don’t really know much about it. So Ixchell I’m going to start you as the lead in the conversation mostly, and then follow up with my own wonderings and ponder.

Ixchell Reyes 4:23
He asks the hard questions. So actually, first, I kinda would like to hear a little bit about your gamification approach just in general in your language teaching experience, what is it that you do and why is it that you do it that way? Or what have you found?

Sallie Finklea 4:41
One of the reasons I really like using gamification in the classroom, especially with speaking activities, I feel like it really increases that risk taking, which I feel with speaking is the hardest, hardest thing to get students to take risks in. You can get them listening and writing and they’ll write everything But we’re speaking is just like pulling teeth. And so if you can really gamify, that speaking part, that’s the part that gets students starting to get really interested and getting rid of their inhibitions towards it. So I think that’s my main approach is to focus on gamification of speaking activities, which is kind of where this came up.

Ixchell Reyes 5:21
So what are English war games? And how did you come up with this idea?

Sallie Finklea 5:26
So a lot of it was just thinking of how to encourage students to take those risks and speaking, but there are a lot of the games I use, like Kahoot, or other types of online games or in class games, were very disjointed. So we would play a game and we’re done with the activity. And then we go on to another activity, we play another game, and we’re done. But I really wanted to put it in a full context, like a situation. And then I like to do classroom roles. So giving students more responsibilities. So I kind of thought, okay, how can I bring this all together, tie it in together with classroom roles with speaking activities, games, where they’re working together, collaborating, leading, giving them all of those opportunities, and I thought, word games. I’ve seen movies with them. I have zero experience in the being in the military. I’ve got no formal training and creating games. But I just and

Ixchell Reyes 6:27
I don’t mean to interrupt, but what is what are war games? Because that’s one term that I actually didn’t know, it’s a real thing.

Sallie Finklea 6:34
It is. And I even had to look it up. It’s like, Well, does this make sense? So Peter Perla wrote a book called The Art of Wargaming. And his definition is any type of warfare modeling, including simulation campaign and systems analysis and military exercise. So I thought, okay, I can use that kind of backdrop, and get them to focus on using their English in a situation giving them missions, giving them a common goal to work towards, where they’re gaining points. There working on developing those collaborative speaking skills, and also working together towards just becoming more autonomous in their learning.

Ixchell Reyes 7:22
So did you say Peter Perla? Yes. So okay, so so we’re gonna put this in the show notes. And so people can go check it out. But I like how you’re talking about this concept of connecting all of those activities. And I think that you’re right, I think with the tools that we have, we have a plethora of tools, especially tech tools. But they don’t always connect, right. And sometimes it feels like, Oh, my goodness, we’re overwhelming the students. So I really like the idea that you’re making it into, like, a it’s almost like a project.

Brent Warner 7:58
Well, it’s I don’t know if it’s a continuous thing, all linked together. So when you as soon as you said that I’ve like, I felt that but I’ve never verbalized, like, Okay, now it’s time. Alright, now, that’s done. Now, the next,

Ixchell Reyes 8:11
another one, another one? About a Quizlet? No. Okay, how about, you know, whatever it is,

Brent Warner 8:17
yeah. And I have really felt that, like, you know, it’s like we have to as teachers, we have to kind of weave that into the next activity and do it in a in the kind of a smooth transition, but it’s not always smooth, right. And so, so I think what I’m hearing is that you’re saying that turning your class or a unit of your class into this war game then makes all things more cohesive and linked together from one activity to the next.

Sallie Finklea 8:43
It doesn’t it give students just this context for using language, where it’s not just okay, I’m studying this grammar point. And then I’m talking with my grandmother using this grammar point. And then I’m talking with my sister using this grammar point, it’s okay, how does this grammar point play out in real life? And so trying to get them to make that connection? Even if it’s something that they may never experience? It’s just making that connection and giving them the broader context for something where they’re working together, which is really what language is about.

Brent Warner 9:16
Can you set up like, what does the first day of class in this conversation look like? Like, what do you come in and show and tell the students how do you build their expectations for it? One of the first things you’re teaching is it are these parts movable so it’s like hey, this week we’re wanting to do these things. And next week we’re gonna do this or do you have to have you built out like entire world plan? I don’t know. I guess I just kind of want to like, especially understanding from the students on first day and what are they seeing?

Sallie Finklea 9:48
Yes, so one of the first things I tell them is that we’re going to be doing these WarGames and they just kind of look at me like huh, and I explained first I explain the why, for a long time. I did it without explaining the why. And they’re kind of like, what what’s going on? Like, why are we doing this? Okay, we kind of get it. But I tell them this is to practice your speaking skills. And this is to help you with your speaking skills speaking with each other, like, Okay, we get it. And they love it, because that’s the one thing that a lot of them struggle with, and they want to practice, but they don’t want to practice. And so I tell them, the why behind it. And then I explain, I’ll be giving you a situation, and the mission, and throughout the week, each of the activities that I give you every day, they have these daily missions, or things, mini missions, and then at the end of the week, they accomplish the overall mission. So everything we’re working towards throughout the week is the kind of big mission big goal.

Ixchell Reyes 10:44
So one of the things that I really like here is that the approach to gamification, usually it’s like points, what do you buy with your points? It could be leaderboards, but hear you you have tasks, tasks, and not everything is related to the the, like the war game itself is not necessarily necessarily related to the concepts you’re teaching that day. Correct. Are you are how, how does that connect?

Sallie Finklea 11:09
So there there is a connection. So on the first day, I give them the situation in the mission, explain the the roles, the classroom roles. But throughout the week, like one of the first missions on the first day, I call it the intelligence gathering, it’s really questioned formation, teaching them how to ask a question. And they, if we may be studying a question formation grammar topics that week, or we may not. And I’ll still put this in, but I may, if we’re studying, you know, embedded questions, I’ll ask them to ask embedded questions on the first day, or if they’re just asking direct questions, or yes, no questions. So I try to relate it to the grammar that we’re doing that week with the question formation. But then also just tell them be free, feel free to ask questions, so that they can really work on that, because that’s one of those topics that almost every English learner needs to practice.

Ixchell Reyes 12:03
And you mentioned the roles, what my sample roles look like in a classroom.

Sallie Finklea 12:09
So I give them a few different roles, there are a few of my core roles, but I try to give it where all students have some sort of role. So sometimes I’ll make up something smaller, divide the tasks in between people, but one of them would be the group leader. And they have the each role has a game part and a classroom part. So in the game part, the group leader is really deciding, bringing everyone together in that collaboration to discuss how to accomplish the mission. And in the classroom will sometimes I’ll ask the group leader to choose someone to read, or to decide which of the three activities we’re going to do next. So I tried to give them that type of decision making role. The next one I have is security. So they’re responsible for keeping all of the papers that I give them related to the mission, situation mission, they have to keep it you know, closed in a folder, but the classroom side of that is turn off the lights and close the doors, we leave. And then I’ve got scribe, so that’s the person who’s taking notes about the decisions being made in the game. They’re also writing down the homework for their classmates. So they can kind of keep them updated if somebody misses. And then I’ve also got the role of supply. So this is the person who’s responsible for keeping up with all of the points, and also requesting all of the equipment that they’re going to buy for their mission, which is where they use all of the points that they gained throughout the week. So and then his classroom role is to actually go get pencils for their classmates, make sure all of the pencils are returned at the end of the day, which has actually really helped me not letting my pencils block off.

Brent Warner 13:52
So so so then you’re getting everybody into these roles. And then I assume you have to two teams of this is that is if it’s a war is that how or does it get into like multiple teams all like is it Stratego style? Or what’s what’s going on here?

Sallie Finklea 14:08
So I’ve done it two or three different ways. One of the ways that the way that I go about it most of the time is by having the class work together as one team, against the clock, really, the clock is what they’re trying to be they’re trying to get through the mission. By the end of the week. I have done it two different classes when I’ve had two different classes, or one classes, you know, phrase Landia the other classes clause Landia. One is attacking the other. I get really creative with the names here. There’s now inlandia, verbally and dia. But they have worked against each other like that. And then I’ve also done it within the class where they’re on two separate teams within the class and they’re working against each other within the class.

Brent Warner 14:53
All right, so explain to me some of these, these missions, right? Like what are the actual missions They’re going on or that they’re doing. And then And where does the language tie in with it for those.

Sallie Finklea 15:07
Okay. So I’ll give you an example of one of the missions actually a situation and the mission. So the situation and kind of setting up the backdrop the story, what’s going on in this country that we just made up. So one of them was your village of Graceland dia has been hit by a hurricane, the roads are dangerous. And you and your classmates have been called up to help keep the area safe. Your enemy claws Landia sees an opportunity to attack, you must be ready to defend your village. So in this week, we were learning a lot of weather related terms. We were learning about flooding, and about hurricanes and tornadoes. So they’re, as they’re learning this vocabulary. They’re learning about how to use it and talk about it within their village. And also on the first day, I do give them a map of their village of their country, so that they can start talking about what are the risks, you know, the, where’s this? Where could the tsunami hit? How many people are in the path of the tsunami? Where could a tornado hits what could be the destruction and damage so they’re learning all of this language within this context, their mission is a little bit different from the situation but related is to one prepare phrase Landia for a possible attack from cloth Landia. And also to keep phrase Landia safe, and be ready to rescue citizens who need help. So we might watch a video of rescue during a flood on YouTube or something like that, and they’ll need to discuss it. And then the many missions throughout the week, the little quizzes that I give them are also related to this language for them to use.

Brent Warner 16:47
Okay, so they start doing these little quizzes and watching these videos and kind of understanding. So that’s pulling in, right. So that’s a lot of the in for them. And then how are you determining whether they are successful with their missions? Like, is there a point scale here, you did mention that people are up buying supplies and some things like that? So it sounds like there must be like some other world building at the same time going on?

Sallie Finklea 17:16
Yes. So every day I give them points, one for doing their homework, another for speaking in English, again, to raise that risk taking every every minute you speak in English as a point for the entire class. So and they have to be using the vocabulary and grammar within the speaking. So we’ll be I’m still teaching working on the grammar and vocabulary throughout the day. And then using that within the lesson, and then I’ll give them the question at the end of the lesson that relates back to the mission. And so it’s kind of this unstructured part where they talk about the mission. And then at the end of the week, what does that mission accomplishment look like? It’s, I’ve done it a few different ways. And I’m still working on getting it a little bit more hands on. But it, it looks a little bit like a combination of Dungeons Dragons, I don’t know if you’ve played that. And maybe a little bit of different activity, hands on activities and folk app activities. So a lot of times, like with this one, I gave them the mission, they had to have a discussion in the group discussion was a part of the planning mission. So they had to list all of the different ways that they were going to protect the village. And then they give that to me, I’m the narrator. And I narrate what happened the night before. And I tell them, this, this worked, this didn’t work. There was a complication, and I throw in the complication, and the complication is really where they’re solving in real time, like their bridge went out. Now you need to go rebuild the bridge, using the vocabulary and the procedural vocabulary, the grammar, they just used to say step one, do this. Step two, do this. And then if they according to my rubric, if they can do all of the steps within the vocabulary, then they’ve accomplished mission. If they miss a part, then you know I have a scale, kind of if they get, you know, a three, then they got everything. It’s two, they missed the part where they needed attached to both sides or something like that the vocabulary word attach. And then I might give them a two and say it was accomplished but you know, you lost a few shoes along the way or something like that. And then we have a little bit of fun with this. But as long as they do that and get through the complication adequately based on the kind of scale that I have, then they’ve accomplished the mission and then they go into talking about the debrief or after action report, where they use the past tense to discuss the whole week.

Brent Warner 19:59
Okay, night So so then you’re you’re tying it all up at the end. So just speaking purely of the mechanics of you kind of keeping track of these points, right? Because so if you, let’s say, so you said a point for every minute of English talking. So if it’s an hour long class, they’ll get, they’re gonna get 60 points over the course of the day. If you catch them speaking their own language, then you take away one point each time is, is that how it works, or

Sallie Finklea 20:24
so I do it differently based on the levels of English learners, for beginners, I might, I might take away like 10 points. For intermediate, I actually take away the entire hour, say lose 60 is higher state. Since I have my students for the whole day at our institution, if they’re an advanced class, and they speak a different language, then they lose points the entire day, they go back to zero, and they start over at that hour. So if they’re, you know, five minutes from being led out, and somebody says something in a different language, then they can only earn five points that day, if they continue in English.

Brent Warner 21:06
Oh, okay. So whenever it happens, you still let them collect points after that, but it’s not like they’re gonna lose for the whole day. But it’s like, okay, at the 30 minute mark, you said something. So therefore, you can only get 30 points from here on out to the rest of the game. So it’s how much it goes until the end? Yeah. Okay. Got it. That’s a cool system. So that makes it it motivates them to be careful about it, right. Better to make a mistake at the beginning than at the end.

Sallie Finklea 21:34
Definitely. And I remember one of my students, he’s like, why are why are we continuing on in English, and I was like, well, sometimes you’re gonna be speaking to somebody and they don’t know your language, like you really have to stay in English to explain this problem that you’re going to face. And he said, my brain is on fire. And it’s that good.

Ixchell Reyes 22:00
So I wanted to point out here that, so so far, we’ve talked about basically things that you could do with pen and paper and a board. And you’ve taken a lot of the mechanics of, of, of apps, like quizzes, for example, where you can have teams, but then if a team makes the wrong choice, then the team goes back to zero. But you’ve taken this and you can basically replicate that in place where you might have very little technology available or even internet connection.

Sallie Finklea 22:30
Yes, in fact, I’ve done this in areas with no internet connection. So it’s, it’s really something that you can adapt to your situation, you can use as much or as little technology as you want. I did this in a classroom with pen and paper first, and had all of the drawings written by hand, we did all the missions, I handed them to the students, they read them out loud, they got really into it and really thought through a lot of what they would use the points for the equipment, and I have an equipment list. And they use those points to buy the equipment. And I just, I keep it fairly generic, like ground support or support and they can, they can buy whatever they need for that. And I keep even a category for other, and they can create other equipment that they want throughout the week, as long as they write it down. So they’ve gotten really creative with some of this. And it really becomes after the first or second day. It’s almost like the students are creating the story throughout the week.

Brent Warner 23:33
Yeah, it’s so cool. Yeah, it’s very cool. So can you talk a little bit more about that about like, how the students take ownership of it and what they start like, because I can see this as something like you’re saying, like you started off and get them going, but like, then once they take ownership, and once they start moving into things, as with all learning, right, that’s where that’s where the big changes start happening. So what have you seen your students actually do? And what have you seen the the ways that they maybe, maybe veered away from what your original intentions or but it was still good? Or, you know, like, how are they taking it?

Sallie Finklea 24:09
So one of the ways that this, this kind of played out throughout the week, I gave them a mission and a situation and one day, I was actually having some trouble with technology, just dealing with some of the issues and one of the students can miss its claws, Landy has a cyber attack. And they wrote that into the story, like, Okay, we’re gonna learn the word cyber attack, and we’re gonna go with it. And so we did and that became a major theme throughout the week is that there’s a cyber attack with these weather problems, and it caused a power outage, and they were, there was an engineer in the classroom and they were getting the engineer to solve the power problems and they created a new role and said, we need we need an IT role and I said, Okay, and so we can added a new classroom role and a game role for them to go solve those problems. And it became a lot of fun.

Ixchell Reyes 25:07
Have you? I’m curious, have you had any resistant? Or I guess, I guess in resistant students, I would think of like the more shy ones who might not feel less comfortable? And what has been your experience in getting them to feel comfortable participating? Or? Or maybe that hasn’t been the case?

Sallie Finklea 25:27
No, I’ve I’ve definitely had some shy students. And at first, they were really hesitant. But I tried to give them a role that that they can have fun with. So one of the roles was the timekeeper, which is, it’s a fairly simple role. They keep track of points, and everybody likes the timekeeper. Because that person is giving them points. So it’s a very loved role. I try to give them a role that everybody everybody’s going to want them to succeed in. And so this person also tells me for a class time, like when, when break time is and they’ll announce break time. And I had this really shy student, and he would just kind of look at his watch and raise his finger and be like, it’s break time. No, no, we all want to hear break time. Like everybody wants to know that say it, like everybody wants to know, it’s like, okay, it’s break times, like, no, no. He would clap twice and say, break time and everywhere we go, can we all cheer, and he really opened up that week and really started to flourish, because everybody was so excited when he accomplished his role. And so I feel like you can really give students the responsibility, but also create that environment where everybody’s cheering, everybody’s excited when each person does their job.

Ixchell Reyes 26:47
I love the fact that it creates community and that, again, I have had, I had, like, we always have had students who will encourage each other. But it’s just harder when that person might not you might not be friends with that person. But pulling them to accomplish this mission or missions together really creates that community and you care and you cheer. And you genuinely feel excited that that student finally overcame something that was challenging for them.

Sallie Finklea 27:16
Absolutely. And I’ve had, I’ve had some other types of resistance. And a lot of it was because that and this is what I learned early on was to tell them the why behind it. If you just go in and say, Okay, we’re doing WarGames you’re, you’re playing this split this fake, you know, worlds that I just made up, and we’re gonna have rolls and you’re gonna do this. And they’re just like, Huh? Why are we doing this, there’s a lot more, I don’t get it. But when I tell them, I set this up specifically. So you can practice asking questions, you can practice your vocabulary and grammar in context. So you can practice those role discussion roles and polite speech, they suddenly start sinking in. And then as we go throughout the first day, I really focused on modeling that with every class, and then it starts to really click and I’ve had students a month later, I’ll be walking down the hall and be like class Landia, like free

Ixchell Reyes 28:15
to have like stickers made because they’re going to be coveted.

Brent Warner 28:20
I was just thinking that we were talking to my school about like, getting T shirts and how hard I mean, it’s it’s a little prohibitive every time but I could see for sure people being like, I got my T shirt, you know, like if it’s a winning team, maybe got the t shirt or something like that. Yeah, so Salia Oh, sorry. For these or are these typically like one week units? Or does it keep going throughout your term? Or how long does this go on for?

Sallie Finklea 28:46
So I usually try to keep one working to one week I structured around the week, just because I usually know I’m with a group of students for about a week. Sometimes they’ll have them longer sometimes they won’t it just kind of depends. I have done it where I’ve kind of created this story and weaved it into the next week and we start a new mission but I try to keep it about a week in part because the attention of the students like they can keep up with it for a week. But over the weekend something happens I think a complete

Ixchell Reyes 29:19
push the reset button (laughter)

Sallie Finklea 29:22
Yes! and everybody forgets what happens because I’ve tried to do it over two weeks but it’s just one week is probably the limit to what you wanted to do it and then it gets two weeks just gets too complicated trying to keep everything up things change so I just I limit it to a week that seems to be the most convenient at least and

Brent Warner 29:40
then they’re totally happy to move in to the new activity if it’s second week or whatever else it is right but right but you’re you’re kind of have it cordoned off I guess in certain ways I was like okay with that, that mission in a in Dungeons and Dragons that would be like that vein is over now. Anything

Ixchell Reyes 30:01
over here, Nike around here?

Brent Warner 30:07
So I’m like, How can I tie this in? Yeah.

Ixchell Reyes 30:10
And you know what I’m thinking back. So I’m thinking back to my days at USC, and there was this really difficult in my writing classes, it’s a really difficult concept. We had to study, read research about Fox domestication, and then be able to write research about it. And I’m thinking, Man, that was such a hard unit for everybody. And I think typically, we took two or three weeks, but I’m starting to think holy cow, I could probably do something with mimic the scenario that the researchers actually had and have the one I think it was Dimitri belay of who domestic who first started domesticating, the fox as well, I remember this. And, and then they looked at dogs, and they looked at how the process changed. And I used to do a lot of hands on video recording, and have them retell stories in groups and make posters and explain and et cetera, et cetera. But I’m thinking, Oh, my gosh, this would have been so much more fun. And then there’s a unit on potato, the farm industry, and Monsanto and how GMO and I forgot what the terms were, but it was they were just difficult and not fun. Language. Yeah, I mean, it’s research. But I’m thinking I could totally take this and not call it organic, but I could call it something else. And I’m thinking to how many teachers can there the limit is simply their imagination?

Sallie Finklea 31:37
Absolutely. I’ve, I used to teach a ESL for science class. And I was just thinking how I wish I had this. I wish I thought of this about three years ago with my students, because a lot of it was environmental focus. And I was thinking, you know, with the points, you could start off with too many points, you have too many. And it’s carbon footprints, and you’re trying to reduce them throughout the week with the class, as they do their homework as they do things online, as they, you know, do this community project out in the environment. That would be so much fun. And I was like, oh, but that’s okay. Maybe another teacher out there will do now

Ixchell Reyes 32:16
that’s okay. Because you’re gonna write a book about it. With students? So if if a teacher is listening out there, and they want to try something similar, but they’re not sure where to start? How would you? What approach would you recommend for them to start with something like this? Because a week a week long missions? For teachers who don’t have a lot of time like us? It’s it’s just it sounds overwhelming, but I think we can get past that?

Sallie Finklea 32:49
I think so too. I would definitely start I mean, with anything that you do in teaching with the end in mind, like what do you want them to accomplish? In the classroom? Is that hands on? Is it just kind of think about what that looks like? And then work backwards? What things do they need along the way? For them to accomplish that? Daily? Like, do they need to be doing homework? What kind of homework would help them do that? What kind of language do you want them to do? But also think about the classroom culture? Because I developed these very intentionally to promote collaborative language collaborative working together to get the point. So how can I you know, as if I, if I were teaching environmental science or language for science? What words do I want them to know each day to really help them with that language mission at the end of the week? Is it weather related terms? Is it dirt related terms, are we planting something in a garden, where they need to instruct another student how to put that seed in the ground, you know, just think about each of those things and then break them down, eat for each day. But I would also say don’t overwhelm yourself. I started this because I really didn’t want to be disjointed. But when I first started, I didn’t try to connect everything all at once. I started with the end goal and the beginning, and then slowly worked through, you know, taking that Kahoot quiz that was disjointed and rewording it to now it’s asking questions about phrase Landia and clause Landia. And it’s still asking the right vocabulary and the right grammar questions. But it took a while before I had adapted that to the mission. And so I would say just start with something where students are getting those points, accomplishing something at the end of the week, and then slowly add on where you can and be comfortable with it changing over time because I think I’ve learned more from how the students have changed it than then how I decided to change it.

Brent Warner 34:51
Big time. Alright, so Sallie, I mean this there’s so much to go on here. There’s a lot a lot of different things. This is a big ask but what Would you be willing to share an outline or some sort of rough lesson plan with listeners who are interested in looking into this and maybe using it as a way to get started or using as inspiration for them to figure out their own way of doing something similar to this?

Sallie Finklea 35:16
Yes, I actually, I do have an outline of the week, things that I do each day, there are even some materials that are already online, like on Kahoot. If you look up Ew, G, you’ll see some of the different questions. And they’re obviously with things that I teach. But you could look at that as an example of how to create a quiz around a theme. And then I’ve got a few different examples. I’m working on creating more maps right now for students to work through. Looking, I was looking at different using different API’s. But I haven’t found any that right now. They’re less artistic, I think a lot of the AI is out there, you know, you give it something and then it changes it into a picture, but it’s more of an artistic rendering of that. And I’m looking for more of an typography, like actual map

Brent Warner 36:08
of the country.

Sallie Finklea 36:10
So I’m working on that, if anybody knows if anything.

Ixchell Reyes 36:15
My niece is a cartographer. So I will ask her,

Sallie Finklea 36:18
Okay! definitely!

Brent Warner 36:22
There we go. There we go. Nice. Okay, so we will provide res- links to resources, and maybe a couple downloads inside of the show notes. So that’ll be DIESOL.org/80 the number, is that right?

Ixchell Reyes 36:36
80. We’re old.

Brent Warner 36:39
Yeah. So awesome. There’s just so much to kind of start thinking about here, and, and I’m sure there’s people listening, they’re like, I want to get my hands on the materials and get started. And then also that the book that you recommend it too, it sounds like it’s a good way to get going. Peter Perla, right?

Sallie Finklea 36:55
Yes, the art of Wargaming. And I would say the first half is probably a lot of history. The second half is a little bit more nuts and bolts for and this is actual military Wargaming. But I’ve adapted a lot of it and taken a lot of the concepts to my classroom. Well,

Ixchell Reyes 37:12
I I’m almost thinking, Brent, a lot of this, you could if you’re a gamer out there, and you’re playing those simulation games, you could take any mission from there and build from there because I’m thinking oh my gosh, that’s something that would be on Call of Duty. Oh my gosh, that would be on like, I don’t know, some Nintendo. Yeah. Are you Oh, game, so

Brent Warner 37:32
yeah, for sure. So there’s a lot to play with here. We’re gonna, we’re gonna wrap up for now, but, but this is a great start and a great way to get people started so so check out the show notes if you want to explore more.

Ixchell Reyes 37:50
All right, it is time for our fun finds. And this time around, I have a complete ly superficial and maybe unnecessary, expensive, fun, fine. It’s the gamma professional hairdryer. And if you I don’t

Brent Warner 38:09
dry here and superficial. That’ll keep you from catching a cold right?

Ixchell Reyes 38:14
$350 is pretty superficial for a hairdryer. So yeah, I decided to splurge on a pricier dryer. And I didn’t think that it would make a difference. But it does. It really does. What is it just like it it’s really quiet. No, it’s really quiet and the way and it just dries so fast. But the heat settings do not. They do less damage to your hair. So when it’s sealing the shine into the oils, the natural oils into the cuticle of the hair, you end up with like really shiny hair. And people comment on mine all the time. And so I finally decided you know why I’m not by myself one and I out there telling you to go spin your harder hair dryer. So that’s my fun bind. No shame.

Brent Warner 39:16
Good. Sure. All right. So mine is actually was inspired by a recent episode. And this is this is back to education stuff. But we were looking through some of the research and one of the things that I found was this, this old book, and it’s small, it’s not very big, but it’s called the goofy icon. And it’s a I found it on Amazon. It was only nine bucks. It’s old. It’s you know, like, I don’t think they’re ever gonna reprint this but but it’s pretty cool because it gets into like links they call them language goofs that students commonly make and how to kind of deal with them one at a time instead of instead of trying to correct every error that students make. It’s really about figuring out these kinds of lists. Is the conversation of like global and local errors, and really helping students understand, but in a simple way, so it’s it just breaks down tons of little common mistakes that aren’t necessarily a single grammar problem that you would just solve. So they have all sorts of things. But

Ixchell Reyes 40:16
like the thing we talked about last time, like the I think so

Brent Warner 40:19
yeah. So like how to use theories like the proper use of do and like a couple of basic rules around how do gets used inside of here, I’m trying to grab something

Brent Warner 40:32
like that sometimes. Yeah, passive sentence

Brent Warner 40:35
usage. And like it gets into like, it gives these sentences like of the common types of sentences a student might say. So like, it says, the bread finished each cushion given by our priest, something like that. And then they talk about what the actual problem is, because it’s missing, you know, whatever it is. So sometimes they’re pretty straightforward grammar rules. But sometimes they’re kind of like weaved into other bigger problems. But But presented in a way that’s meant to focus on helping students be more clear with their communication not to fix every single issue. And so this is a teacher’s book, you know, but, but anyways, it’s called the gufa. Con, it’s, if you can find it, it’s not particularly expensive, although it is out of print. I think that’s from the 70s or something. Did you find that about this? Because it was written by? Because when we were talking about global and local errors, I started looking it up. And then this book is part of where that conversation episode. Yeah, so so it’s cool. Anyways, if you can find it, it’s called the gooficon.

Brent Warner 41:37
Sallie, what do you got for us?

Sallie Finklea 41:39
So I actually just started taking a drawing class, that’s part of my solution for getting maps.

Brent Warner 41:48
cartographers of the world unite.

Sallie Finklea 41:52
I would prefer an AI or cartographer, and I think my students would, too. I might draw, like a five year old, an amazing five year old, but I thought about going online for for drawing classes or YouTube. And I was like, No, I’ve been in my apartment too much. Like, I’m gonna go out and meet people. So I found there’s an art school nearby. So I signed up for a class and I’m in there with artists. And I’m like, oh, gosh, other actual artists in here. But I’ve learned I’ve learned a lot just on the first lesson. It’s been a lot of fun.

Ixchell Reyes 42:27
So the thing we must take away is that Sallie is not afraid of taking risks. Because we’re talking about that and students and she’s going out there with real artists, and we’re going to come back to these amazing seven year old map drawings. Yeah, yeah. Seven year old. Kidding. Awesome. All right, if you’re giving us a shout out anyway, tell us on social media. We’re on all the platforms, mostly. Mostly on Twitter. Mostly. We don’t know where we are anymore. But yeah,

Brent Warner 43:01
conversation we don’t know where we are going to be. I

Ixchell Reyes 43:03
don’t know where we are right now.

Brent Warner 43:05
But we are I mean, we are there we just don’t know if we’re gonna be there. So yeah. Patreon got that if you want to support the show. The show notes for this episode is at our at is art. Can someone tell me if I should be a con. That’s a great goof the con DIESOL.org/80. That’s the number 80 And of course you can listen to us at voice Ed Canada. That’s v-o-i-c-e-d.ca The streaming radio love it there. And you can also find us the we are on Twitter at @DIESOLpod D-I-E-S-O-L pod and I am at @BrentGWarner.

Ixchell Reyes 43:43
And I am still at @Ixy_pixy. That’s I x y underscore p i x y and if you’d like to get in touch with Sallie, Sallie, where can people find you?

Sallie Finklea 43:53
I’m not on much social media so you can email me and I have an email address. So it’s just Englishwargames@gmail.com.

Brent Warner 44:00
That’s the perfect email for your book that you’re going to be writing over the weekend. (laughter) Love it.

Sallie Finklea 44:11
In Russian thank you is a Ciba Spasiba for tuning in to the DIESOL podcast.

Brent Warner 44:17
Thanks everybody.

In this episode, special guest, Sallie Finklea joins us to discuss English War Games, a unique approach to gamification in the ESOL classroom. We chat about how she comes up with language-related scenarios that promote speaking and authentic use of language while supporting autonomous learning. High tech or low tech, this approach can be applied to engage students in week-long segments of a concept.

Ms. Sallie Finklea is an ESOL instructor with experience teaching both K-12 and adults in multinational classrooms with students from over 40 countries. She enjoys reading and hiking, and hopes to visit all the TX Hill Country State parks this year.

Sallie’s Resources

Fun Finds 

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