The lesson began with a discussion about what a good sport looks and acts like. We made a list and the students had all the right "pat" answers (i.e., agree on the rules before you play, pick equal teams, congratulate the winner, don't brag if you win, etc). We also discussed what to do when someone seems to be cheating or not following the rules; students were genuinely surprised at the concept that others may not KNOW the rules and need to be taught, as opposed to automatically accusing them of cheating.
Then I announced that the class would be playing a game with absolutely no interference from the adults in the room (caveat: I would step in if things became too hurtful, which is not always true when they play games at recess or in their neighborhoods). I chose Heads Up Seven Up because most students were familiar with it, but other group games could work as well. Then I stepped back and let them work it out on their own for about 15 minutes. It was interesting to watch the differences between classes. Some classes had a natural leader or two, others worked together to talk it out, and still others consistently argued and struggled for control. I really appreciated how students tried to consider the concepts we had discussed at the beginning of the lesson as they played.
For the last 5-7 minutes, we discussed how the game had gone. I asked if they thought the game was fair, then fun, and why. Many said that they wished a teacher would step in and fix things, so we talked about how they can be empowered to solve the issues on their own. Students came up with some areas they could still improve in, such as how to pick teams fairly and how to deal with students who seemed to be cheating, which we can address in future lessons. I really enjoyed this lesson because I felt that students were fully engaged and appreciated such practical, "real life" learning, and I learned a great deal about the interpersonal dynamics of students when they are not in the classroom setting. Fascinating stuff!