Last Sunday (22/11) was my 9th meeting with my EOTO group mates, which was also rather spontaneous because of our schedules again. Still, five of us – Ani, Emilia, Sofia, Paola and I gathered, went to Pyynikin Munkkikahvila in the city centre, ordered hot chocolate and munkki and proceeded with our EOTO session.
To which, it was a little awkward at first because we didn’t come well-prepared with study materials, since we had to have at least one meeting that week. We talked about how our day went and some general things about the weather (“hace mucho frio” – It is very cold). But luckily for us, Sofia and Paola taught us how to play this wonderful word game called ¡Basta!, which means “Stop!” in Spanish. It’s really amazing how these simple games that you picked up during childhood can be used as language learning material for others.
So the game format goes like this:
1. Each player gets a piece of paper and writes down a number of columns with categories like Nombre, Apellido, Ciudad o País, Flor o Fruto, Cosa, Color, etc.
2. One player (Player A) volunteers to recite the alphabets in his/her mind (“A…B…C…D…”) without saying it aloud and another player shouts “¡Basta!” after a while.
3. Immediately, Player A has to announce the alphabet that he/she was thinking at that moment and everyone has to fill in the columns with words that start with the mentioned alphabet.
4. When a player gets all the columns filled, he/she shouts “¡Basta!” and counts “Basta uno (1), basta dos (2), basta tres (3)… until basta diez (10). This way, the other players would still have time to fill up their columns while the finished player counts from 1-10.
5. Everyone checks with each other what they wrote in each column and put down scores for each word.
6. If there are two players with the same word, each one gets 50pts. For 3 players with the same word, each gets 30pts. If there is no one who has the same word as you have written, you gets 100pts.
7. The player with the most points wins.
As usual, we decide to spice up the game by allowing Finnish and English words. It was pretty difficult to think of words of the flower/fruit and colour category, even though we mostly wrote in the language we are most comfortable with. I realized I should have put an extra effort to think of Spanish/Finnish words, but somehow with time constraint, the brain automatically thinks in the language it’s most comfortable with.
Still, it was great that we have had another opportunity to learn new words, as I wrote a list of colours and fruit names in Spanish after the game.
There is also another children’s game, which we did not have a chance to do it because it has to utilize an outdoor space where one can draw on the ground with chalk. Or snow, since we are in Finland. The one thing we took away from it was the opening chant that one kid tells the other, which goes like this:
“Declaro la guerra en contra de mi peor enemigo que es (the other player’s name)”
“I declare war against my worst enemy, who is…”
“Julistan sodan pahinta vihollistani vastaan, joka on…”
All in all, we have a good and fruitful learning experience once again, thanks to our Mexican friends!