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Copyright © 1997, Sivasailam Thiagarajan. All rights reserved.

A textra game maximizes the learning from handouts and job aids. This type of game reinforces a reading assignment with peer pressure and peer support. SECRET MESSAGES is a textra game that ensures that the players understand the principles presented in a handout. This game taps into the players' visual intelligence.

Distribute copies of the handout and ask each player to pay special attention to the rules, principles, guidelines, and suggestions contained in it. Suggest that they visualize the main points as they read the handout. Warn the players that they will be playing a game that will punish non-readers and reward those who take the reading assignment seriously. Specify the date, time, and location for the follow-up textra game.

At the start of the SECRET MESSAGES game, organize the players into groups of four to seven. Give each group a bowl of counters (pennies, paper clips, or poker chips) and a packet of message cards. These cards are blank on one side and have a printed message (a rule or principle) on the other side.

Ask each group to shuffle the packet of cards and place it in the middle of the table, message side down.

Ask the tallest person in each group take the first turn to be the artist. This artist picks up the top card, reads the message silently, and keeps it hidden from the other players.

One of the players in the group keeps time for 2 minutes.

The artist draws a series of pictures on blank sheets of paper to convey the message in the card. The artist should not use any letters, numerals, or symbols found on a standard keyboard.

The other players attempt to guess the message and shout out their guesses.

If a player shouts out the correct message, the artist says, "Done!" and shows the card. After verification, he picks up two counters from the bowl. The player who guessed the message correctly picks up one counter.

If the timekeeper announces the end of the 2-minute period before anyone has correctly guessed the message, the card is buried int the middle of the packet for recycling. No one (except the artist) knows what the message was.

The player seated to the left of the artist becomes the new artist. The game continues as before.

The game comes to an end when the group runs out of the message cards. (Alternatively, you can stop the game at the end of a prespecified period of time.) The player with the most counters wins the game.

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