By Deanna Cook
Have you heard of Kahoot? It’s a game but it’s also designed for social learning in the classroom. The questions have four multiple choice answers displayed on the whiteboard. Points are rewarded for speed and answering correctly. Students get to enter their nickname and at the end of every question, the five highest scores are displayed on the board. My grade twelve class plays it every Thursday in homeroom. I have created numerous games centred on Bible stories. Some games are general- Old Testament stories or Jesus’ parables. Sometimes the game is centred around specific themes- like Women in the Bible or The Sermon on the Mount. If the game is not set up on Thursday morning, the grade twelves ask why not. It surprised me how much my students have embraced this tradition.
They are engaged in learning and there is a lot of excited talking. Students partner up- using each other’s expertise to improve their scores. And it’s fun to see what nicknames come up each week. Sometimes, you can tell the students have preplanned a theme for their nicknames. One week, all of their names were cartoon-themed; another week it was Shakespearean-themed. Students, and myself, try to guess who belongs to the alter-egos. And there is always celebrating when a student makes a massive leap in their score. Kahoot has indeed created a sense of community in our classroom.
This is a class that has worked hard to become a unified community: from a class full of disharmony a few years ago to the class I see today. It has taken deliberate steps: eating together, praying together, and spending time together. They have a group chat- to encourage each other. On Fridays, we have a breakfast club; each week someone brings breakfast for the class and we eat together. And they have learned to take care of each other. When one is suffering- because of health issues, family losses, or anxiety about the future- they pray for each other. When one was in the hospital, they went to visit. When another lost her brother, they cried with her. It has been a good reminder of what the larger church community should look like. They come from so many different backgrounds- different nationalities, multiple languages, and diverse socio-economic classes and family settings. But they are united despite the differences. And this unity has made them stronger. They have storms, but those days are not total hurricanes like they once were. It will be hard to say goodbye to this class at graduation. But until that day, I will take the opportunity to enjoy our traditions, like our Kahoot games.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. –Hebrews 10:24-25