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An Important Question
Before you play the second round it's important to ask them a couple of questions. It's natural that some students will go faster than others. Of course, it's important that no one gets hurt feelings by being the last one to finish. You can help this situation by asking:
Q: "When we perform music, is the person who plays the fastest the best musician?"
A: "No." Everyone will think this is funny.
Q: "Is it more important to finish first or get your cards in the right order?"
A: "To get your cards in the right order."
If you ask the question exactly this way and after the first round, the students will always answer this way. Even though you have this little conversation, the kids will still play as fast as they can. However, the game takes on a lighter feeling and the child who finishes last isn't bothered by it.
How to Finish Each Round
"Okay, put out your "A" card in front of you and mix up the others . . . Ready . . . GO!" As each child finishes putting this or her cards in order they usually look up at me. Rather than disturb the students who are still arranging their cards, I don't say anything, but do smile at the one who finished and nod my head as if to say, "Well done." I also wait until the last child has finished before checking our cards together unless someone is particularly slow. Then waiting may make it too obvious who is last; I make a mental note to help that student later in a private situation. It's helpful for class morale if the game isn't too easy for some students and too hard for others.
To Play or not to Play
In recent years I've used a set of cards and played right along with the children. It helps them have an example to follow, it is more interesting for me than just sitting there, and it's fun since the students try to say "Fine!" before I do. I put my cards out fairly fast, not paying too much attention to neatness. When someone says "Fine!" before me, there's this huge grin that's exchanged between us.