We’re going to play tunnel tag, I tell them. We’re going to play with balls. That means that anyone who is running can pick up a ball and become “it.” If you are “it”, you have to throw the ball to tag players from the shoulders down. If you get tagged, then you make a strengthening tunnel like this (I demonstrate). Someone needs to crawl through your tunnel and then you’re free. If you’re crawling through a tunnel or you’re just getting up from being saved, you cannot be tagged. Oh yes, taggers can be tagged and if that happens, you have to drop the ball and make a tunnel.
(That’s clear, right?)
OK, friends, I see some hands up. Are these questions about the game or do you just want to be “it”? Questions about the game. Ok.
What if someone tags you in the head, does it count?
What if the tagger doesn’t throw the ball when he tags you, does it count?
Can you jump over the ball?
What if I’m holding a ball and someone hits my ball with theirs?
Can I have more than one ball?
What if I tag someone at the same time that she tags me?
If I’m just getting up can I get tagged?
Is puppy guarding allowed?
What happens if you fall down, can you still be tagged?
What if someone catches the ball?
Can you have a winner in this game?
Can you play in teams?
How many balls are in the game?
What if everybody gets tagged?
Is this dodgeball?
Can you take out more balls?
Can we please start?
2nd graders thought of all these questions. About one simple tag game. And just when I reached the point of “well, that’s enough,” someone asked about a situation we hadn’t yet considered. While I may not always be patient, they are certainly persistent. They are a marvel in their collective cleverness and creativity. To be able to imagine all sorts of contingencies – that is their spectacular gift.
And they do this regularly. Every time we play a game, they interrogate its parameters and possibilities with astounding rigor and focus. I think the process would merit a study of its own. The Role of Student Questioning in Games of Low Organization.