The Real Game Series
The Play Real Game The Make It Real Game The Real Game The Be Real Game The Get Real Game Real Time Real Life
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All work, all play... all right!

Launched in October 2008, this is the first of the new generation of digital programs in The Real Game Series. New online components make delivering the program easy and more engaging for facilitators, and enable students to access online components like Wish List, After Work,Slice of Life, Reality Check, Realizing My Dreams, and more anytime, anywhere. Now parents can help their children at home with budgeting, priority-setting, and so on. Also, new Character Education, Environmental Educational and Essential Workplace Skills components have been added, with 50% more role profiles. This new program is a "must see" for educators wishing to help their students imagine the future they want to live, understand the importance of sucess in school, and become more intentional and purposeful in achieving their dreams. Real Game 2.1 Digital            Highlights of Changes

Key Program Elements

This section includes:

  1. The Game

  2. The Outcomes

  3. Facilitator Role

  4. The Sessions

  5. The High Five

  6. Essential Skills

  7. Character Traits

  8. Bueprint for LifeWork Designs Competencies

  9. Making Soft Skills Real

  10. Interdisciplinary Learning

  11. Understanding the Terms

  12. Adapting the Game

1. The Game

The central element of The Real Game is role playing. Each student plays an adult character in one of a wide cross-section of contemporary work roles that span most industry sectors in Canada. Roles are generally assigned arbitrarily. Students gain valuable and lasting insights about themselves and adult life as they play their role over a number of days, weeks, or months. Through online and print materials, class discussion, active and reflective activities, research, interviewing and dialogue with fellow players, facilitators, family and community members, students learn about adult life. They also learn that what they do, or don't do, now will impact their future. To simplify adult complexities, each character is single.

Players experience situations, challenges and opportunities all adults face, as they will soon. Encourage your players to do their best to "get into" their roles. Explain that they are playing a character, like in a movie or on TV. The character is an adult in the future. It doesn't really matter if they think the role is really "them" or not. They''re just acting.

Playing a character makes the experience safer than playing themselves. You want your students to imagine, as clearly as they can, how the character they create would act and react in the situations and scenarios the program presents. Encourage them to have fun, play with and embellish their roles by researching them and by using their imaginations. The game is about real life. Learning will be greatest when participants can clearly imagine and visualize how they would feel and react in situations they will face before long as adults.

Above all, The Real Game is a learning and teaching tool. Use your creativity and draw on your knowledge of your students and your  community. Session outlines suggest how, but they are intended as starting points. You are the delivery expert. Take advantage of learning moments to further explore issues raised by the game.

The game is divided into four units: Making a Living, Quality of Life, Changes and Choices, and The Personal Journey. Each unit is a stage of the journey, and builds on the previous stage.

Units are divided into sessions, each with key instructional elements: Overview, Time, Learning Objectives, Performance Indicators, Materials, Preparation, a step-by-step guide to Activities, Personal Reflection, Discussion Points and Suggested Speakers. Most sessions include  Optional Activities.

Session times are suggestions. The program is flexible so you can take into account students' personalities, home situations, and relevant events and issues in your community. The program encourages as much parent/guardian involvement as possible.

The Real Game provides many opportunities to evaluate your players' progress, such as group projects and session activities. A Performance Review is included later in this Introduction. Use it or design your own to gauge changes in attitudes, behaviours, attendance, etc., and to measure acquisition of new knowledge or skills. Each session includes performance indicators correlated to learning objectives so you can evaluate players' progress.

2. The Outcomes

By playing The Real Game students discover, for themselves, the importance of education and lifelong learning. The program incorporates diverse subject and skill areas such as: math, language arts, sciences, family life studies, social studies, decision making, communication, teamwork, analysis, self-awareness, time and priority management, budgeting, financial planning, and critical thinking. It also teaches career exploration, planning and management skills. It is not designed to direct students to a particular occupation. Rather, it enhances their awareness of a wide range of occupations and helps them see relationships between educational attainment and lifestyle options, and understand the nature of social, economic and technological trends impacting the changing work world. The program is a safe, engaging and fun journey of exploration to the adult world of life and work. Playing the game helps students become more purposeful, intentional and successful now and in the future.


3. Facilitator Role

The Real Game is activity-oriented, experiential, exploratory, and reflective. It requires the guiding hand of a facilitator for preparation and setup, for explanation, for activity coordination, and for follow-up. To a degree your students will take ownership of the process and the program will unfold naturally. As facilitator, your role is to act as guide, mentor or coach, ensuring your students understand what they are doing and guiding discussion, reflection, and association.

The Real Game benefits from the involvement of guidance counsellors or career practitioners, and is well-suited to a team teaching approach. Some sessions can be delivered in one subject area (social studies, language arts, or math, for example) and expanded on in another. Older students in peer tutoring roles can help deliver some sessions, and members of the community can be involved at many stages during the program.

4. The Sessions

All session outlines include the following standard elements:

Overview: A brief synopsis of the session.

Time: The suggested minimum time to do all activity steps, excluding optional activities. These times are simply guidelines. The game is designed to be highly flexible, and you may decide to extend these times. Take advantage of natural, spontaneous learning moments. Where possible, build in extra time for guest speakers, optional activities, parental or community involvement, viewing relevant films (i.e., October Sky, Rudy, etc.) and field trips. There will also be an indication here whether the session is Core (essential), Recommended or Discretionary.

Learning Objectives: The learning outcomes the session activities are intended to achieve. These are linked in the right margin of the same page to academic subjects to show how The Real Game enhances learning of core academics.

Performance Indicators: The accomplishments that will indicate mastery of the concepts and skills addressed in the session.

Materials: All materials needed for the session. The availability of writing materials is assumed. Printing handouts double-sided to conserve paper does not affect the integrity of the game. All handouts are available online. A Student Kit can be purchased. The cost is minimal. This is an attractive, informative folder in which students can store all game materials, and which can be added to their portfolio. To order call toll-free: 1-888-533-5683.

Preparation: Everything you need to do prior to delivering the session. Most activities require short-term preparation. Some, like arranging for guest speakers, require longer-term planning.

Activities: The step-by-step exercises in which your students will engage. They have proven effective in classrooms around the world. However, as you gain familiarity and confidence with the game, adapt the activities to your own teaching style, class, and facility.

Personal Reflection: This takes the knowledge students acquire in the session to a deeper level of understanding. Here they analyze, synthesize, judge, assess and evaluate new knowledge in light of their own unique goals, values, and beliefs. Students are encouraged to reflect on ways in which this new learning might become part of their real life behaviour. They can reflect through journaling, talking with friends and family, or in other personally relevant ways.

Discussion Points: These enable you to reinforce the session’s objectives and further explore new concepts. Discussion can be integrated at appropriate points during the activity steps. The points listed are suggestions. Use those that appeal to you, and add others you feel would enhance your students' learning. Measurable activities that can be graded can be created from discussion points by adapting them to journal exercises, homework assignments, group projects, or other activities.

Optional Activities: Additional exercises which, time permitting, expand on the session and its objectives or take advantage of learning moments. Feel free to design your own additional activities, explore cross-curriculum opportunities by delivering the session in one subject area and following up in another, and plan activities with a team (small learning community) of teachers.

Suggested Speakers: Ideas for guest speakers who can enhance the reality of each session, thus enhancing student learning, are included for most sessions.

5. The High Five

Five career self-management principles, "The High Five", illuminate the learning objectives of The Real Game. They help students reflect on the relevance of the game to real life, and on the changing nature of society and the work world.

  1. Change is Constant: We change constantly and so does the world around us — including the working world. Most people now encounter many jobs, in different occupations, organizations and industry sectors during their lifelong career journey. Adaptability and resilience are important skills to master. Every change, good or bad, brings new opportunities.

  2. Learning is Lifelong: Since change is constant, learning needs to be on-going. Learning does not end with high school graduation or completion of post-secondary studies or training. Opportunities to learn are everywhere! Learn to recognize them and make your learning lifelong.

  3. Focus on the Journey:  Life is a journey. Identifying your goals and purpose gives direction. However, people who are too fixed on a destination can miss the doors of opportunity, relationships, situations and possibilities that present themselves along the way. Become a good traveller on the journey of life.

  4. Access Your Allies:  The journey of life is not solitary. Friends, relatives, teachers, neighbours can be willing and helpful allies in choosing next steps on your life journey. Anyone who knows and cares about you can be a great ally for you, and you for them.

  5. Follow Your Heart: Know yourself, believe in yourself and follow your heart. Imagining your future helps you understand what you really want in life. Knowing who you really are and what you want makes you strong and motivates you through life’s challenges. Believe in yourself, and never be afraid to dream.

6. Essential Skills

People of all ages should take every opportunity to develop the skills that will be essential to them throughout their lives, both in the workplace and in their every day lives. Such skills help people to adapt quickly to new career situations, rise to ever greater challenges and achieve their own definition of success.

  1. Reading: Whether in the form or emails, books, street signs, reports, journals, pay cheques or brochures, a vast amount of information is communicated through written language. Anyone can access five thousand years of wisdom by learning to navigate sentences and paragraphs.

  2. Document Use: Paperwork doesn't have to be tedious or boring. It allows workers to take a step back from their tasks, assess what's been accomplished, and reflect on the best way forward. Encourage your students to develop their organizational skills, and put them to work when handling documents.

  3. Numeracy: Basic math skills are fundamental to every occupation. From calculating taxes and estimating distances to determining how many hours will be needed to complete a task, everyone needs to use numbers to make important day-to-day decisions with confidence.

  4. Writing: Writing is one important way we share our thoughts with the world. Your students will need to fill in forms - like those needed for a driver's license, credit card, job application or to mail a parcel - type on a computer and express themselves clearly through written words.

  5. Oral Communication: Speech is the fastest, most direct and often the most persuasive form of communication. It is the primary method for workers to exchange thoughts and information. Encourage your students to be in on the discussion and learn to articulate their ideas verbally.

  6. Working With Others: In the workplace, as in life, people are always interacting with other people. Whether over the phone, by email or in person it is important to respect your colleagues and clients, and learn to work with them to achieve common goals.

  7. Continuous Learning: Once people know how to learn, they can gather the skills and knowledge they need for any job, at any point in their career journey. First, they need to know their preferred learning styles - to discover how they learn best. Second, they need to know their environment - learn how to find resources, find information and identify opportunities.

  8. Thinking Skills: With practice, we can all think faster, more accurately and more creatively. Encourage your students to train their mind to solve problems, make decisions, think critically, plan and organize, enlarge their memory and gather information. Then they will be better able to identify the root causes of problems - both at work and at home - and find lasting solutions.

  9. Computer Use: Twenty years ago employees prepared documents and office records by hand, or used a typewriter. Now with advances in technology and the rapid evolution of the work environment, most jobs involve regular computer use.

7. Character

Character transcends national, ethnic, cultural, gender, political, socio-economic and religious boundaries. People who develop good character enjoy more success in all aspects of their lives - work, family and community. Ten "global" character traits follow. As students role play adult characters in The Real Game, encourage them to be aware of these traits, and give their character good character.

  1. Respect: Be polite, courteous and caring. Value yourself and others. Treat all people with dignity and uphold their rights. Protect property and the environment.

  2. Responsibility: Be responsible for your thoughts, words and actions. Be accountable for your choices. Admit mistakes and work to correct them. Honour your commitments. Demonstrate active citizenship.

  3. Honesty: Be sincere, truthful and trustworthy.

  4. Integrity: Behave in an ethical and honourable manner even when no one else is around. Be genuine, so your actions match your words.

  5. Empathy: Respect the feelings of others. Try to understand what others are thinking to appreciate their perspectives. Listen and consider their views even if you do not agree. Act with kindness and compassion.

  6. Fairness: Be sensitive to the needs of others. Include them and value their uniqueness. Celebrate diversity. Treat people with dignity and consideration, as you would like to be treated. Gather enough information to make decisions that are just.

  7. Initiative: Be eager to do what needs to be done without being prompted by others. Seize opportunities and willingly take the steps necessary to achieve a goal.

  8. Perseverance: Finish what you start even when it is difficult. Don't give up when faced with obstacles. Complete all tasks and assignments to the best of your ability.

  9. Courage: Face challenges directly. Speak up for yourself and others even when it may be unpopular. Ask for help when you need it. Recognize risks and dangers and do not take unwise chances to please others.

  10. Optimism: Have a positive attitude. See challenges as opportunities. Think, speak and act to make the world a better place. Have hope for the future.

8. Blueprint for LifeWork Designs Competencies

Career development and curriculum experts have determined that eleven career development competencies are essential for success in 21st century careers. The following 11 competencies are imbedded in all Real Game learning activities:

  1. Build and Maintain a Positive Self-Image

  2. Interact Positively and Effectively with Others

  3. Change and Grow Throughout One's Life

  4. Participate in Lifelong Learning

  5. Locate and Effectively Use Career Information

  6. Understand Relationships Between Work, the Economy, and Society

  7. Secure or Create and Maintain Work

  8. Make Life/Work Enhancing Decisions

  9. Maintain Balanced Life and Work Roles

  10. Understand the Changing Nature of Life/Work Roles

  11. Manage One's Life/Work Building Process


9. Making Soft Skills Real

Character Traits, Essential Skills and the High Five are among the "soft skills" employers want in candidates for entry level employment. Students must learn that they are critical to success in any career path and in their lives, and become purposeful in learning and practising them.

You are encouraged to have your students create Essential Workplace Skills and Character Traits posters. Your Art teacher might help by having these posters created in Art class. A parent or a local graphics or public relations firm might help.

Try to make references to the High Five, Essential Skills and Character Traits in every session. Questions like, "How has your character shown good character today?", "Which of the High Five were you demonstrating when you just said .... ?", "Which Essential Skill was needed to do that?", will ignite discussions that ingrain these key issues in students' consciousness.

Some facilitators like to have "themes of the week." If for example, you will be playing The Real Game over several weeks, you could have a different theme each week. Week 1 might be the High Five principle "Follow Your Heart", Week 7 might be the Character Trait "Integrity", and so on. The theme of the week could be highlighted on a sign that students see as they enter the class. Use your own imagination in finding ways to bring these critical "soft skills" and attitudes into focus for students.

10. Interdisciplinary Learning

Interdisciplinary teaching can increase student learning and engagement. Through interdisciplinary projects students develop a more complete understanding of complex issues and real world problems. You are encouraged to invite academic subject teachers to join you in delivering elements of The Real Game. For example, Math teachers can help with sessions where numeric calculations are important (i.e., budgeting), Geography teachers can help with vacation planning, English teachers can co-facilitate sessions where reading, writing, oral communication, document use and new vocabulary are featured. Teachers can also align activities and homework assignments in their classes with The Real Game learning objectives to further engage students in learning mastery

11. Understanding the Terms

Before launching The Real Game you need to establish definitions of and distinctions between the terms job, occupation, and career.

Job:  A work role (paid or volunteer) with a specific organization in a specific place (e.g., Civil Engineer at ABC Construction, Volunteer Guide at Riverside Fish Hatchery, Math Teacher at Confederation High, or Cashier at Pleasantville Drug Store. No two jobs are exactly the same.

Occupation:  A broad category of work with similar characteristics, such as Electrical Engineer,Pilot, Physician, Politician, Landscape Architect, or Teacher. Many people have the same occupation, but work in different places for different organizations. When people in these occupation work for a specific organization they have a job.

Career:  A lifetime of learning how to balance learning, working, leisure, and relationships to be as happy and fulfilled as possible. Everyone has a career and, whatever age they are, they are well into it. Some people just let their careers happen to them. Others take charge of their careers and purposefully construct the future they want.


12. Adapting the Game

The Role Profiles included in The Real Game represent a range of occupations available across Canada with varying income levels, hours of work, education, work styles, vacation time, etc. They are collated in four clusters, each representing a cross section of income and educational levels.


If you have, for example, 30 students playing The Real Game, you could simply assign roles from cluster A and cluster B. Alternatively, you could select 30 role profiles you feel are highly representative of your community from any of the four clusterss. You could use different clusters each time you facilitate, to keep the program fresh for you. Students enjoy playing the game more than once if they experience a different role each time.

To make the program highly relevant for your students invite people from your community in occupations represented by the role profiles you are using to speak to your students about their career, or participate in your Career Day. You could also organize field trips to local business or service organizations. The Speaker's Guide will help you and your speakers prepare. Service clubs such as The Rotary, Optimists, etc., your local Chamber of Commerce or local Junior Achievement contacts can be supportive and helpful with logistics.

Explain the importance of the small business sector to the Canadian economy. Emphasize the importance of entrepreneurship and self-employment, particularly in communities where employment options are limited.


Online tutorials are now available for The Real Game 2.1 Digital Edition (The Real Game 2.1):


What is The Real Game? (17:01 mins)

See a short overview of the contents, activities, goals and outcomes of The Real Game (Should you experience any problems viewing this file, please click and download this free codec file at the following link: )

The New Career Paradigm (17:20 mins)

See how perceptions of the processes and outcomes of career development have changed and learn why we must prepare students for success in life, not just work or education. (Should you experience any problems viewing this file, please click and download this free codec file at the following link: )

Register and Activate (3:16 mins)

Learn how to register and activate a 14-day FREE Trial License or a two-year Site License (Should you experience any problems viewing this file, please click and download this free codec file at the following link: )

Manage Classes (9:30 mins)

Learn how to create classes, enter students, organize teams and assign job roles to students (Should you experience any problems viewing this file, please click and download this free codec file at the following link: )

Overview of Facilitator Zone (20:25 mins)

Learn how to access and use all program components, functions, lesson plans and resources for facilitators (Should you experience any problems viewing this file, please click and download this free codec file at the following link: )

Overview of Student Zone (19:20 mins)

View the activities and resources available for students to access from school or home that complement classroom or group learning activities.(Should you experience any problems viewing this file, please click and download this free codec file at the following link: )



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