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Bookopoly: How-To

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 7 months ago
Bookopoly: the Life-Sized Board Game
What Is Bookopoly?
Bookopoly is a book club with a twist for kids in fourth through sixth grade. Kids are asked to read a book before attending the program, but instead of sitting at a table and talking about the book, kids become an active participant in a life-sized board game. The room is transformed into a board game with over-sized game board pieces. Kids are divided into teams, and they work together to answer trivia questions and to complete physical challenges based on the book.
Books We Have Used in Bookopoly
  • The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer
  • How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz (YA program)
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr
  • Shipwreck (Island. Book One) by Gordon Korman
  • Knights of the Kitchen Table (Time Warp Trio) by Jon Scieszka
  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli
How to Pick a Good Book
Good Bookopoly books have a guy main character, action, and humor. It’s really nice to choose books that have audio versions, and books that have movie connections are great. When planning a series of Bookopolies, it is helpful to have a variety of reading levels. It’s good to start with a shorter simpler book and then after doing them for a while, move into a book that is longer. It’s also good to start with books that kids really know and then later it is easier to use lesser known books. Try to have a rotation of sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure. Books can be historical or realistic if it has action. Ask kids what books they would like to read, and if possible choose books with characters that are a little older than the kids participating in Bookopoly.
  1. Call volunteers to help with the program. Both high school students and parents work very nicely.
  2. Gather supplies:
    • Large dice (Buy fuzzy dice for a car and cut off the string or buy oversized dice at a teacher’s store).
    • Funny money to be given at whim to teams (see later instruction). 
    • Game board pieces (12x18 size sheets of construction paper). Use masking tape to attach them to ground. Laminate the “roll again,” “lose a turn” and “physical challenge” pieces.
1.      Make 4 spaces “lose a turn”
2.      Make 4 spaces “roll again”
3.      Make 4 spaces “physical challenges”
4.      Have 24 blank spaces
    • Make 15 physical challenge cards out of poster board.     
    • Have book checks ready. We use Ellison die cutouts of a book. Each team has two. They can use a book check to look up an answer if they are not sure. 
  1. Clear the room of as much furniture as possible. Move anything that could be dangerous out of the way. Try and keep the center of the board as clear as you can. A gymnasium or cafeteria is ideal but this can be done in a classroom or smaller setting. In a smaller room use three of each action space and eighteen blank spaces.
  2. Give yourself plenty of set-up/tear down time. It can take an hour to get everything in place. You need to tape down the game board (to avoid slipping) and have all of the challenges set up in advance. Sometimes you need to test a challenge to see if it is set up correctly.
  1. 50 to 100 questions per book are ideal, though some shorter books make this difficult. Repeat the questions if you run out. Letting the students know this fact may make them listen closer to the other teams.
  2. Try to have a variety of difficulty levels for the questions from “What color shoes did a certain character have on in chapter one?” to “What is the main character’s name?”
  3. Check the Internet. Many times you can find trivia online for certain books but be careful to find trivia and not discussion questions. Also, check that the answers are correct.  
  4. Make sure you have recently read the book yourself! Kids can always tell if you have not. Ask your volunteens/volunteers to read the book. This can also be an important way for them to role model. It is a good idea to pick a book that has an audio version for this exact reason.
Physical Challenges
  1. While creating trivia, keep a list of ideas next to you. You don’t need to know exactly what you are going to do at this point but write down anything that could turn into a challenge. Statements like, “He ate a cheese sandwich” may come in handy later. 
  2. Look through a few craft and game books before you begin reading the book. Just skimming several may spark your imagination. 
  3. Think silly, fun and gross. Try to make the challenges not only hard but also something that everyone can do no matter the skill level. For example, for the Knights of the Kitchen Table one of the physical challenges was “Save the Knights from Bleobs Snot.” Kids had to reach into a bucket of slime to “rescue a knight.” Sometimes putting your hand in something gross is a challenge in itself.
  4. Look around your house and library! Some of the best games come from items you already have in your household. 
  5. Don’t forget to create one activity that has food somehow involved. Everyone likes a snack. Make sure there is enough food so that everyone can try a piece at the end of the game. Watch out for food allergies.
  6. Don’t worry about being artistic. Most of the time the simple challenges create the most imagination in students. 
  7. Create as many activities as you can that involve team work. If it is an individual challenge, make enough pieces for every member of the team to be able to experience it at least once.
  8. Think about SAFETY. If you are not 100% sure you can keep an activity safe, scratch it from your list. Kids get really excited and silly during the game, and you don’t want to worry too much about their safety, for the sake of a cool challenge idea. If the rules get too strict and are not presented in a playful way, you can lose that reluctant group that we are working to win over.
Starting the Game
  1. Set aside an hour and a half for the first time a group experiences a Bookopoly. Once they are used to the rules and how the game is played, this can be done in an hour. If you start to run low on time, just rotate teams to finish the physical challenges.
  2. Put on nametags! This includes the volunteers. It is very important to celebrate all the individuals in the group.
  3. Teams should be sized from about 4 to 8 people depending on the size of the room you are in. 
  4. Give the teams time to get to know each other. Ask them to create a team name and refresh their memories by going over their favorite parts of the book. I like to have teams work on a cheer for themselves. They are also encouraged to create cheers that they can use for the other teams. 
  5. It is nice to have a team captain if you do not have a volunteen/volunteer for each group. The captain makes sure everyone is getting their fair turn. 
  6. Go over the rules of the game. 
  7. The game does not have winners and losers because it is not necessary to have a winner to make Bookopoly fun. If you want to, you can have the teams spend the “money” on something, though we never have and it has never become an issue. 
  1. Each team must pick a piece on the board where they want to start. 
  2. Each team starts by rolling one die. The highest roll will be the first team to go. If there is a tie, there is a one die roll off. Keep a clipboard with the teams’ names to track whose turn it is. Roll again, physical challenges and lose a turn make it very hard for both you and the students to remember whose turn it is.
  3. To roll you must answer a trivia question correctly. If you do not know the answer, you can ask for a book check for help. 
  4. You get to roll both dice for every trivia question you answer correctly. If you land on a roll again, you get to roll without answering a question. 
  5. Each team can win funny money for various things. This is up to the leader. Listed here are good reasons to award cash:
·        Cheering on another team.
·        Answering a particularly hard question.
·        Saying something nice to the host or another player.
·        Landing on the same square at the same time.
·        Accomplishing a physical challenge.
·        Cheering on their team.
·        Creating a new chant for their team.
·        Being the first team to quiet down so you can listen to the directions.
  1. Each team can also lose money for various reasons:
    • For putting down anyone in the room.
    • For creating a negative cheer.
    • For messing with physical challenges before it is time to use them.
    • Any behavior that may disrupt the flow of play. You will quickly get a feel for your group and know when to use this.
  2. Each group must work as a team. Encourage them to discuss the answer together instead of allowing one student to yell out his reply immediately. All team members must be a part of every challenge. 
  3. Someone from each team must be standing on the team’s space at all times. This must rotate among the students so that everyone has several turns being the game piece.
  4. Each team member must rotate the opportunity to roll the dice. You can lose money if you purposely throw the dice at anyone during your turn. 
  5. Everyone moves around the board clockwise. 
  6. When a physical challenge is completed, your turn is over. 
  7. Remember every group is different. It is okay to change the rules to fit your group’s personality. 
  8. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!


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