If you’ve never heard of the game Dixit, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice when it comes to board games. It has come to be the defining example of card-based, imaginative games. In brief, Dixit has you either trying to convince people to choose your card without speaking a single word, or trying to convince some people to choose your card by sharing only a single clue.
The key to the game lies in that italic word right there: “some”. Make your clue too obvious and everyone will get it; too obscure and no one will. It’s an excellent introduction to changing your “voice” for a particular audience, and could very easily serve as an activity in just such a lesson.
That’s only one way to put Dixit to work, however. There are many more!
The very first way that I used Dixit cards in my classroom back in England was in a Language Arts rotation. While I was working with a small group on reading comprehension, another group had a Dixit card each. Their task was to write a creative paragraph (or sentence, or even just a list of adjectives) using the card as a prompt in combination with whatever our learning target was for that unit. Like any other independent activity, it was simple enough to set up my expectations in the first session and have them work on the task alone when it was their turn. The results were distinctly underwhelming to begin with, which I would attribute both to how novel the specific activity was and how unstructured the task was in general. After a little more modeling though, their writing really began to take shape as genuine responses to the prompt and I was very happy with the outcome.
Another way that I have used the cards outside of the game itself is as “point-of-view” prompts in small group work, although it could easily have been adapted to a whole class activity. I would present a card, or series of cards, to the group and get them to write a brief description of what they saw. It’s very important that they work independently on this! Then we would share responses and review the similarities and differences, using that as a springboard to talk about perspective. Of course, you could do this with any image but I find the strangeness and complexity of the Dixit pictures to be perfect for kids to pick out things you’d never even expect.
The third way I have used Dixit in class is as a whole-group version of the actual game. My school was lucky enough to receive a large technology grant in the past few years that allowed us to provide class sets of iPads to our upper grades, which I made use of to aid the activity. I put together a few sets of Dixit cards by theme, made up a clue for each, and challenged the kids to select which one was my card through a Kahoot quiz. Not quite as interactive as the full game, but the essence was there without the unimaginable chaos of 20-odd kids playing the real thing! This would be a great intro or plenary activity for a lesson on perspective or voice, as the time spent is much more controllable when using the quiz version. (This is the quiz that I created.)
If you were to buy only a single game to use as a classroom resource, I believe Dixit would be the most useful. It is, after all, primarily just a box of fantastic image prompts (and you can even buy expansion packs that are just cards for a little cheaper). The possibilities for a creative instructor are quite literally limitless.