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How to Facilitate the A* Genius Board Game

What is an AG Facilitator?
An A* Genius game facilitator (AG Facilitator) is the person with the responsibility of generally overseeing games of Amygdala GeniusTM ensuring that the learning opportunities generated in each game, are used effectively. AG Facilitators are most often teachers, tutors or parents.

Online Registration with Tutorial for all AG Facilitators
All facilitators preparing to facilitate the A* Genius board game for the first time should register online, and take the online tutorial at: www.amygdalagenius.co.uk

Introductory Classroom Sessions
Introductory sessions should be held for all potential players being introduced to A* Genius for the first time. Introductory sessions should inform students that ‘special classroom board games’ have been purchased for lessons on how strong emotions and feelings affect the decisions we all make and the way we behave.

Definitions
Introductory classroom sessions or classroom tutorials should seek to include age appropriate explanations (definitions) of the following terminologies (see website):

        a. What are strong emotions and feelings?
        b. What is behaviour?
        c. What is emotional intelligence, and why is it important (in behaviour, relationships, learning,

            achievement and health?
        d. What is emotional resilience and why is it important?
        e. What is a strategy?
        f.  What are some of the challenging issues faced by young people?

Understanding Emotions
Students should be introduced to the six groups of emotions used in A* Genius (Love : Joy : Surprise : Anger : Sadness : Fear), and asked to think of emotions belonging to each group. To help with this, Emotion cards can be used as discussion primers.

Understanding Issues that Challenge Children and Young People
Students should be introduced to issues highlighted by A* Genius which young people might find challenging and hard to cope with. Facilitators should select issues in an age appropriate manner from the twenty-nine found in A* Genius. One way to do this is to use the Issues cards as ‘group discussion’ primers.

Handling Strong Emotions and Feelings
Students should know that, how well they manage their emotions, will affect how well they deal with the difficult issues and experiences they will encounter as young people.

Remember the Purpose of the A* Genius Board Game
A* Genius was specifically designed and developed to aid the development of competencies and abilities important to emotional intelligence (including self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social awareness). A* Genius generates learning opportunities where important issues related to emotional intelligence can be identified, explored, consolidated and remembered.

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Familiarise Players with the Game Board, Game Cards and Rules
Before playing the game for the first time, it’s important that players are familiarised with the layout of the game board, and each of the four main card types: Strategy cards, Emotion cards, Issue cards and Action cards, along with the information they hold and its relevance to emotional intelligence. Familiarisation can be further supported using the 104 emotions on Emotions cards and 40 behaviours on Behaviour Action cards in spelling tests where students can also be asked to give definitions.

Facilitating Games
Learning opportunities are best utilised when games are overseen by a Facilitator. Superb learning opportunities are generated via the game board, game cards, from interaction with the Facilitator and other players, from A* Genius website resources, and from recommended further reading (see bibliography).

It is important that players new to the game are taken step by step through the rules of the game as shown in brief on p16 and more fully on p 7-9 of the A* Genius board game guide. Facilitators are able to determine which issues, actions or emotions players have to face during any game. This is done by pre-selecting which cards are put into the game. All unselected cards are then kept by the Facilitator. Facilitators may pause a game at any time to discuss issues arising the game itself or from players.

Awards and Incentives
Facilitators should consider either developing or using existing local awards systems (i.e. points, stars, colour zones, prizes etc.) as an added incentive encouraging young people to participate, do well, and learn whilst playing the game. Additionally, the A* Genius range of award certificates can be downloaded for use from our website.

Evaluating Learning
Facilitators might wish to assess learning that has occurred. Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) papers developed for this purpose are available on the A* Genius website. The same MCQ paper should be given during the first introductory session and again some time later, after players have experienced playing several games.

Facilitating Games for Young People with Reading Difficulties
A* Genius can also be played beneficially by children and young people with reading difficulties. These circumstances require AG Facilitators to have a greater role during each game. Players are still able to enjoy each game winning by collecting each of the six colour coded Strategy cards (see Strategy cards).

Where young people have difficulty reading, the role of the Facilitator becomes even more important to ensure that appropriate learning takes place. AG Facilitators need to undertake the following in conjunction with the game rules (see pages 7-9, 16 of the A* Genius board game guide):

a.    Select which cards (i.e. Issue, Action and Emotion cards) are to be in play;
b.    Be available to read all cards and board instructions when necessary;
c.    Ensure that all information on cards are noted, discussed and understood;
d.    Ensure that players understand the rules and key terminologies used in the game.

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