3-12, Games, Language Arts

Gifts for the Gifted — Just One

Several years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season.  I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually (except for 2019) on every November and December.  These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child.  For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, including my 2021 list, you can visit this page. I also have a Pinterest Board of Games and Toys for Gifted Students. 

This game is definitely going to become a family favorite — and I have a feeling you will love adding it to your classroom as well. It is deceptively simple, but tons of fun, with potential to extend it into core curriculum. And, though it is technically for 3-7 players, you could find ways to add more players or make teams. The best part is that this is a cooperative game, so you want to help each other do well.

In Just One, each player gets a dry erase “easel” (nice quality plastic) and marker with eraser. The active player selects a card from a stack of 13 and puts it on the front of the easel without looking at it. That player picks a number, which will be the word that the other players will try to help the active player guess. They each write a clue on their easels, and then comes the tricky part! They compare easels while the active player’s eyes are closed. Any identical clues are disqualified and must be erased. When only the unique clues remain, the active player can look and try to guess the word. Only one guess is allowed. If the guess is correct, set the card aside to be counted at the end of the game. If the guess is wrong, that card and the next card are removed from the game. Play continues until all 13 cards are either won or removed, and then you count the successful guesses. A rubric on the instruction booklet gives you a rating such as, 9-10, “Wow, not bad at all!”

Obviously, the more clues that can be given to the guesser, the better. This is why a bigger group of players is beneficial, and also where some mental strategy and personality perception comes into play. You don’t want to write the same word as someone else and both get cancelled out, so creativity and empathy are both strengths in this game.

As I said, this game could be a good way to review curriculum vocabulary, and even have students author some of their own cards. You could set it up in a center, play in groups, or play whole-class in teams. The only constraint to this game is that players need to be able to read and write, which is probably the reason for the 8+ age recommendation on the box.

As you may have read in my other gift posts this year, I am making a concentrated effort to link to independent stores for your purchases. Just One can be purchased at Kidding Around, an independent toy store in New York City.

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