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literacy games

These games are great ways to integrate literacy with learning new information in a fun and interesting way. We'd love to hear back from you how you have been able to use them, adapt them or if you've had problems with accessing the files we've uploaded.

The Garden Game
This board game was created by Elizabeth Buesnel as part of her Graduate Diploma in Language Development and Description studies at EQUIP Training, Melbourne, Australia. She developed the game in response to food production issues being experienced by the Onobasulu people in the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. The problems they were experiencing included pest and disease damage to their gardens and premature death of pigs, sago palms and trees. It was originally developed in Tok Pisin then translated into Onobasulu and was tested by being played on ten occasions in five different villages.
The game is intended to be used as a literacy tool – encouraging reading to gain information and as a discussion starter. It can be used effectively with readers of varying abilities and non-readers. Through playing the game, people of various ages and literacy levels are able to discuss together the issues they experience and discover relevant solutions for the problems experienced with their gardens and pigs.

The information conveyed through the game was provided through consultation with agricultural researchers and Papua New Guinean gardens along with Elizabeth's own knowledge and experience in environmental science and working in plant nurseries.
Elizabeth found that the role of local facilitators – which she calls "knowledge brokers" – was very important in ensuring the effectiveness of the boardgame as a literacy event and agricultural learning tool. These knowledge brokers were able to assist as code breakers by reading the game scenarios fluently and often re-interpreting the written text orally. This made it possible for the game players to interact with the text in a meaningful way as text participants, text users and text analysts. This was particularly important where the participants were not fluent readers or lacked confidence.

Before expecting community members to participate in playing the game it's recommended that a demonstration of how to play the game is provided, making sure that the people realise that the focus is on playing the game and learning valuable information in the process rather than it being on the players and their ability or otherwise to read.

Elizabeth gives this final piece of advice to all who wish to develop and use the game:
"The game process encourages the co- construction of meanings of written texts and the application of such texts to life experiences. However there is the caution that to be totally effective in addressing agricultural problems and facilitating change, the games would need to be constructed carefully and used effectively. Game developers need to be fully aware of local beliefs and values and any underlying or related causes or problems."

Instructions for Playing the Garden Game
Instructions for Making the Spinner
Explanation of the Green and Brown Cards
Green and Brown Cards template
Garden Game template (colour)
Garden Game template (black & white)

The Health and Safety Game
This game was designed by Joy Candee and Liz Buesnel for use in the Onobasulu schools in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Adaptations and translations for other languages are encouraged. This game idea grew out of Liz's Garden Game. The topic of health and safety was chosen to provide helpful and appropriate information in a fun and interactive way so that good health and safety practices could be introduced, learned and adopted in the Onobasulu village contexts. The majority of the pictures used are from the PNG clip art CD. The large house at the top of the gameboard is a traditional Onobasulu house drawn by Liz Buesnel. The outhouse picture and the rat/trash/bottle picture were drawn by Rebekah Drew.
We've provided the gameboard in two sizes and in both black and white and coloured formats. If your printer can only handle A4 paper, you will need to print the A and B files  of either the black and white or coloured versions then join the two pages to make one complete gameboard. If you're able to print on A3 or A2 paper, then the "complete" versions are provided.
Instructions for Playing the Health and Safety Game
Instructions for Making the Spinner
Explanation of Green and Brown Cards
Green Cards information
Brown Cards information
Green and Brown Cards template
Gameboard  A (black and white for A4 paper)
Gameboard B (black and white for A4 paper)
Gameboard A (coloured for A4 paper)
Gameboard B (coloured for A4 paper)
Gameboard complete (black and white)
Gameboard complete (coloured)

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