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Snakes and Ladders Game for Year 9s

Our Year 9 students have this week been playing the Rutherford version of Snakes and Ladders. This concept is something that I have been working on for a while. The game has as its core the idea that students can learn some of the Rutherford key phraseology and must do expectations and have some fun while doing it. These phrases are well worn at Rutherford.  What we have learned is that our seniors fully get it but it often takes too long for our juniors to cotton on to them. I believe this will help front-end load the learning of the terms and what they mean in a Rutherford tikanga context.

Playing a simple game like Snakes and Ladders is also about learning how to win and lose, or treat triumph and disaster as just moments in time. Every day and throughout life we will have wins and losses, but regardless of what the last result was, we just need to get up every day. We must keep rolling the dice and make the required little steps in the right direction. Success is about turning up every day and doing your 50% of the ‘must-do’s’ as a minimum, and then add in the ‘should do’s’ and ‘could do’s’ when you can.

The messages on the game board are there to reinforce with ladders the expected behaviours or ‘must do’s’ at Rutherford and the snakes are to reinforce that if you engage in these types of behaviours and actions then we will hold the line on these as not being okay. The truth is that at the end of it we can’t watch or monitor students every minute of every day. What we are ultimately trying to achieve is that by the time our rangatahi are kotuku ki te rangi, fully grown kotuku in full flight at the end of year 13 they fully understand the difference between right and wrong, and have a strong moral compass to direct them in the choices they make.

The goal is for each student as they go through the various year levels is to be increasingly self-managing. As they move through the school and take ownership, acceptance and responsibility for their words, their actions and ultimately recognise that they are often in control of a lot of what happens.

If we follow what works for the people in life who have already developed a formula for happiness and success, we can make our lives easier and more enjoyable.

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