Every Thursday myself and another teacher host English Club. Its an opportunity for students who are interested in learning English to come and do fun activities. In the past they’ve made tacos, done games based off Korean t.v. shows, scavenger hunts and the like. Students chose all the events based on their likes and things that they wanted to learn.
The students decided that they wanted to learn to play American card games. What card game is more American or should I say, African American than SPADES! Yes, I taught a group of Japanese students how to play spades. My sister commented that “they earned their street cred” by learning to play that game. Culturally speaking, spades is just one of those card games that has been played at Black events for as long as I can remember. Oh, you’re having a bbq? Break out the cards and deal me in. Oh, you’re having a family reunion? The domino table and checkers table are full, so let’s play spades.
Before teaching students to play this game I brushed up on the rules and history. I learned that Spades was a game said to have been invented in the MidWest in the 1930’s. Word has it that some college students, who played both whist and bridge, wanted a new fast paced game that was both strategic and super competitive. During World War II, it was popularly played wherever American soldiers were stationed.
The rules are simple and the students learned to play fairly quickly. We bet candy for books/tricks and by the end the students were slamming down their cards in a way that would make any true Spades player proud.