About this project
"My 7yo laughed out loud 1st draw & said 'I can learn some SPANISH this way!'" - Laura Sexton, Spanish Teacher (@SraSpanglish)
VERBA is a new language learning card game that combines language learning with the fast-paced, hilarious entertainment of games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity. We recognized that traditional language learning games played in classrooms or at home weren’t targeted at actual language learning objectives, especially facilitating comprehensible input and acquisition. VERBA is different.
Unlike other typical games played in the classroom, VERBA’s mechanics and learning objectives are one in the same: players win by building sentences using the target language’s most common nouns, verbs, and conjugations. High-frequency words are repeated aloud each time a noun is added to the sentence, and every noun card is colorfully printed with a visual representation of the object, person, or place in question. There are over 200 cards planned for the core set so there's plenty of value and reuse.
Our goal is to ensure that learners see correct word forms meaningfully introduced and reinforced by the game’s mechanics. In a lot of ways, this is a new spin on a traditional 'cloze' activity all while providing scaffolding for many of the performance indicators in the World-Readiness Standards.
The concept is incredibly simple: one player--the judge--draws a random card featuring a fill-in-the-blank sentence in the target language. Once the sentence is read aloud, each of the other players select and play one of seven noun cards from their hands. The judge chooses the “best” noun based on its cultural relevance, literal meaning, creativity, humor, or some other personal criterion, and the player whose card is chosen scores a point. Play continues with the round’s winner acting as the new judge.
Format: Card Game
Time: 10-20 Minutes
Contents: 50 Fill-in-the-blank Sentence Cards, 145+ Noun Cards Illustrated in Full Color, 1 Rules Card
For this campaign, we wanted to keep things as straightforward as possible. The game is finished, the artwork complete, and the mechanics polished. That allows us to focus entirely on printing a great-looking set of cards for the students, parents, teachers, and administrators who feel VERBA has a place in their classrooms or homes. There's a couple of fun rewards for those looking to leave their mark on the process so we encourage you to check those out as well!
"VERBA was a big success with my Spanish students. VERBA keeps students creatively and purposefully engaged in the Target Language in their attempt to generate the best sentences to win the game.
When the students ran out of cards, they didn't hesitate to mix the stack of used cards and continue play. My role was to oversee the play and laugh along with students at the creative sentences produced.
"Last Friday my students and I played Verba for the first time since it was a day of shortened classes due to state testing. I joined them in the game because I am a fan of similar games and I wanted to know what it was like to play in Spanish with them. My goal was to find out how well they could handle the language on the cards and how creative they could be with their responses.
Let me just say that we had a ball! We had a great time trying to respond to the grey cards with the funniest things we had in our hands. We also had a good time judging whose response was the best out of the cards played. It was great! I just wish I had more sets so that more groups could play!
This is a great vocabulary generator, and a fabulous way to keep students engaged in the target language even during down time." - Amy Lenord, Spanish Teacher (@alenord)
"From the moment I introduced Verba to my clases, my students were highly engaged and having a blast with this high-comprehensible input game!" - Lori Croteau, Spanish Teacher
"I have really enjoyed seeing students laugh together about the sometimes silly and funny VERBA sentences they form. I know they truly understand the words when this happens.
Some groups of students who work together have three different native languages that they are dealing with so I am very impressed when they are able to understand the meanings of these sentences and the vocabulary used!
While working with VERBA, my students are being exposed to vocabulary words we may not directly cover in class and it is a great use of time because these cards cover a lot of material in a short amount of time.
It is very helpful for my new arrivals to work on their basic grammar skills and with VERBA, they need to find singular or plural forms of the word and use it correctly." - Piper Deltenre, ELL Teacher
"I have been playing the Latin VERBA with students at all levels occasionally for the past couple months. It provides a worthwhile and engaging opportunity for learners to create comprehensible and meaningful sentences in the target language. VERBA works well as an end-of-class activity, or even a whole lesson. If you are a teacher who is trying to bring more CI activities into your classroom, VERBA should be an integral part of your students' experiences." - Chris Buczek, Latin Teacher (@magisterb480)
As with all of the core sets for the VERBA languages, Español is also available as a free Print-and-Play download. This means you can print out VERBA: Español and play right away! We hope that you and your students like it so much that you come right back to become a backer.
Founded in 2010, The Pericles Group, LLC provides game-based learning solutions for educators of every grade level, instructional environment, and discipline. In large part due to our previous Kickstarter successes, we’ve been able to produce several game-based and game-infused instructional tools, including multi-year game-based curricula, educational card games, and an iOS language learning app. We’re still a small business, but it’s our hope to shift to full-time game development so we can keep making strides in educational game development for teachers, parents, and students everywhere. That makes every social media share, interview, and review a colossal help!
Kevin (@kballestrini) is the creator of VERBA and also a co-founder of The Pericles Group. In addition to designing learning games, he's a full time educator, teaching high school Latin at the Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut. He has designed full length games-as-curricula (Operation LAPIS and Operation CAESAR), in addition to table-top and digital games for learning (CARD-tamen and the Latin Scansion App). Kevin is currently serving on a committee revising the national standards for Classical Languages in light of the new World-readiness Standards for Language Learning.
Stephen (@steveslota) is a game design scientist at the University of Connecticut and a co-founder of The Pericles Group. He has worked on a variety of game and instructional design projects with organizations including Arizona State University's Center for Games & Impact, Intel Corporation, and Pfizer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, gaming, hiking, graphic design, playing with LEGOs, discussing the inner workings of human consciousness, and taming velociraptors.
Katherine (@katchiringa) is the lead content specialist for VERBA: Español and teaches middle and high school Spanish at the Professional Children's School in New York, New York. She blogs about educational innovation, language pedagogy and teacher development at Plugged-In Pedagogy and Fractus Learning. When she's not having fun in her music-, story- and game-filled classroom, she reads, paints, and tinkers with her time machine.
Standard VERBA Rules
- Each player draws seven white VERBA cards.
- The player who most recently celebrated a birthday begins play as the first judge.
- The judge draws a colored VERBA sentence card and reads the fill-in-the-blank phrase out loud in the target language.
- The judge then places the colored card on the table for all players to see.
- Each player (other than the judge) completes the sentence by passing a white card from their hand, face down, to the judge.
- The judge then shuffles the white cards he or she has received and shares each white card by reading aloud the answer with the colored card in the target language.
- The judge selects the best response, and whoever submitted that response receives the corresponding colored card. This player places the colored card, face up, in front of him or her.
- All white cards used in that round are placed in a discard pile. Each player should draw one additional white card so that he or she has seven white cards in their hand.
- The winner of that round becomes the new judge and the next round begins.
- The game ends when the players run out of white cards. The player who has the most colored cards in front of him or her at that time is the winner of VERBA.
Risks and challenges
All creative endeavors run the risk of unexpected delays, especially in the printing process. That being said, this is our third Kickstarter campaign, and the core game has proven to be a hit in Latin and English language learning settings. Moreover, the game is already available as a free, downloadable Print-and-Play file, so potential donors can try it out before deciding whether or not to donate. No tricks, no gimmicks, all fun!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes! The entire core set (as well as the English and Latin version) is available as a free print-and-play file. You can download them at this link: http://practomime.com/cardtamen/pnp.php
Yes! Here are three posts:
and if you are looking for a design and production manifesto (about the Latin version), you can view Kevin's post here: http://kevinbal.blogspot.com/2015/03/verba-design-manifesto.html and http://kevinbal.blogspot.com/2015/05/an-inside-look-at-production-and.html
Yes; although success with this campaign will make it easier to do so. French and Chinese are both in the early stages of planning. We're also working on a core set for Ancient Greek!
Yes; the Latin version (our unofficial incubator) has a set of 50 additional sentence cards which all use advance clauses aimed at more proficient students. We're also working on beta versions of a companion game which will include longer stories and use all of the existing white noun cards.
In short, there's a lot of exciting things planned, but successful funding here is the first step!
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