Like many of my favorite games, Honey, If You Love Me comes from Girl Scout summer camp. I don’t remember when I actually learned this one, but I remember that we often used it as a simple instant program. To explain, at camp, there are times when units of campers and counselors have a few minutes to spare between activities. Instead of allowing the girls to just sit around, the counselors are trained to fill these gaps with what is called instant program to keep the girls engaged.
In schools, we often refer to similar activities as time fillers to support bell-to-bell instruction. However, I have found that many instant program games can actually serve a different purpose; they are perfect mood shifters, or quick games to help your students mentally shift into the mental space for learning. I began using these a few years ago.
At my previous school, many of my students often came to my class following one of the most emotionally challenging classrooms on campus (large class size, loud, frequent subs, inconsistent behavior expectations…you get the idea). Unless the commotion from down the corridor carried down to my classroom, I rarely knew when my students would arrive hyper, frustrated, or sleepy. I eventually learned to be prepared with a few interventions, such as brief venting in the community circle, silent reading, and meditation YouTube videos. However, these often took a little bit too much time away from scheduled lessons and/or ended up drawing even more distracting emotions out of the students.
One day around the winter holidays (already a challenging time on the residential campus), my sophomores entered my room in a rather somber mood. I remembered that playing Honey, If You Love Me made it almost impossible to not make a group burst into giggles. We played it and it worked! Within a few minutes, my students were smiling and ready to begin learning. I highly encourage you to take a few minutes to play in your class on a day when the students just need a simple mood shift!
If you play Honey, If You Love Me, please share on social media and use the hashtag #tvszed and/or tag @npriester or @tvszed, and I will share it with others. I also have a Facebook group at bit.ly/tvszFB for Teachers vs Zombies. Feel free to leave questions or suggestions below. Have fun!
Honey, If You Love Me
- Students’ moods shift from unhappy to happy
- Students sit in a circle with one student in the middle who asks another person to smile while the other person tries to respond to without smiling
- Respond to a question without smiling
- Enough floor space for all students to sit in a circle or space (This could also work using traditional seating arrangements.)
- 5-8 minutes (Remember, “Stop while they’re having fun!”)
- All students, except one, sit in a circle.
- Remaining student (Alejandra) sits in the middle of the circle.
- The student in the middle of the circle (Alejandra), approaches a student sitting in the circle, and says, “Honey, if you love me, you’ll give me a smile.” She is not allowed to touch the student but may use other techniques to customize her request.
- Targeted student (Gilbert) looks at the middle student (Alejandra) as she speaks but keeps his mouth shut without smiling. When she is done, he says, “Honey, I love you, but I just can’t smile.”
- If targeted student (Gilbert) completes listening and responding without smiling, the student in the middle (Alejandra) moves on to another student. However, if he smiles, he switches places with the student in the middle (Alejandra).
- The game continues until a few students have had a turn in the middle and students are giggling.