Christmas Goose


I have already done at least one post on the Game of the GooseLast year, I img_0308planned on having my French students make a large goose game but didn’t go through with it.  In that plan, I made a bulletin board with a poster-sized game in black and white (I enlarged it in Microsoft Publisher, printed it out on my laser printer and painstakingly taped it together. I had the rules (in English) posted in the center of the game. I addressed the circumstances of each special field by copying and pasting it onto a separate document with the rule next to it.

I did allow my students to play the game, and used flat glass pebbles as the markers.  I printed out paper dice for them to use so they would not swipe them.  They enjoyed playing the game, but after thinking through several strategies, I could not really justify the game in my lesson plans. I was planning on printing out coloring pages for the students to color – mainly the flags of all of the Francophone countries – and different crowns to replace the ubiquitous goose.  I may do that again one day if I ever teach French or Spanish again, but I would need to have some task to do that has to do with the target language – like vocabulary memorization or something like that.

Anyway, while I was on that kick, I painstakingly laid out two of my own versions of a blank grid to be filled in one day by a class. I also cleaned up a scan of a goose game (juego de la oca) I bought in Mexico and translated the directions into English. All three are available at my CafePress Shop in different sizes and formats.

I had one blank customizable goose game lying around when I packed to go to Louisiana for Christmas.  On the off chance that it might be an entertaining family project, I packed it up with a box of Sharpie markers and brought it along.  I laid it out during the Christmas Eve party at my sister’s in-laws and it was a hit. Here are some pictures from the party.img_0285

This is my niece and her cousins working on the board.  Yes, the little one contributed as well!

The boys were not left out!  This is my giant nephew and another cousin of his doing their part for art!

I drew in the special fields, like the well and the bridge.  My mother was in charge of inserting the Fleur de Lis.  The FDL is a big thing over down New Orleans way, so it was the perfect emblem to replace the goose.  I still have some finishing touches to put on the game, then I will upload it to my site and make it available for my sister and her in laws to buy at cost.  It will be a great memory of a Christmas spent together.

The game still has a lot of possibilities for using as a response to literature.  I am planning a similar exercise using a personalized Loteria game.  It really is all about knowing about and using analogies.  The students must think about the story and customize the game to match the theme and major characters and plot points and settings in the story. They would also replace the goose with a symbol that represents the story.  The original “Special Fields” are:

6 The Bridge — If you land on 6, advance immediately to field 12.
19 The Inn — The good food and drink makes you sleepy, and you lose I turn. (Exception: if another player lands at the Inn within the same turn, you change places and you go back to the space that player just came from.)
31 The Well — If you fall in the Well, lose 2 turns—unless another player landing there releases you sooner, sending you back to the field that player just arrived from.
42 The Maze — You get lost and go back to field 30.
52 The Prison — If you land in prison, you stay there until another player landing there relieves you and you go back to that player’s last field.
58 Death — Your goose is cooked. Go back to the beginning and start all over.

For example, if we were to do a House of the Scorpion theme, we would use scorpions in place of the geese.  The “prison” might be a room filled with sawdust (making reference to Matt’s imprisonment when he was only six).  The Inn could be the Convent where Maria is staying or it could be the orphanage, or you could include both.  It makes the students think about what they have been reading and to show that they can synthesize that information and interprete it in a different form.

I would welcome any input that readers might have for using this in a reading or social studies class.


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