# Rolling Into Literacy Skills

*I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:*

**Dice – Part 2 (Literacy)**

*After two weeks of looking at playing cards, I decided to try one more cheap “board game” – dice! Just like cards, dice can be used in so many ways to increase both math and literacy. Here are some ideas on how to use dice with math. Check back next week for some literacy ideas.*

*For all of these ideas, you can use regular six sided die, or specialized die with more or less sides. Specialized die make it much easier when working with bigger numbers and older students.*

1.) **Roll a Word** – Get students thinking by rolling up a word. Decide on a characteristic of a word (number of letters, number of consonants, number of vowels, number of syllables). Have students each roll a die and than share on a word that fits into the characteristics. ie. If you roll a six during the number of consonant round. you must come up with a word that has six consonants in it. This is great for building critical thinking and sharing vocabulary.

2.) **Number Stories – **Have students roll 3 or 4 dice and use them within their writing. For example, if they roll a 4, a 2 and a 1 – they must use those numbers in their writing. An example might be a story about 2 girls with 4 shoes and 1 pet.

3.) **How Many Facts? **– Do you want students to come up with a list of facts about a specific topic or category? Ask your students to roll a die (or two), and give them a topic or question. Then students will use the number on the die to know how many facts to give. ie. Ask students “What is the name of some animals that live in the rainforest?” Each student rolls a die to determine how many animals they have to come up with – rolling a six means coming up with six rainforest

4.) **How Many Repetitions?** – Get students to practice writing their spelling words with dice. For each spelling word – students will roll a die (or two). The number they roll will tell them how many times they must copy their spelling word. ie. If you roll a 4 for the word said – you will write: said, said, said, said

I hope some of these suggestions will help you use dice to teach math in a new and interesting way. Click HERE for more suggestions on how to use board games in the classroom.

# Roll Up Some Math

*I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:*

**Dice – Part 1 (Math)**

*After two weeks of looking at playing cards, I decided to try one more cheap “board game” – dice! Just like cards, dice can be used in so many ways to increase both math and literacy. Here are some ideas on how to use dice with math. Check back next week for some literacy ideas.*

*For all of these ideas, you can use regular six sided die, or specialized die with more or less sides. Specialized die make it much easier when working with bigger numbers and older students.*

1.) **Roll & Add (or Subtract, or Multiply)** – One of the easiest way to practice basic math facts is with a couple of dice. I start my students out with a six sided die, and then move them up to a ten sided die after they have mastered most of their facts. Students take two die, roll the die and then add (or subtract, or multiply – depending on the skill needed). I let my students work with a partner when doing this, and they race against each other to see who can call out the correct answer first.

2.) **Make a Number Bigger than This** – For this activity, use multiple six sided or eight sided die. Depending on how big of a number your students can handle, each student will need one die for each place value place (ie. 4 die for a number with a thousand’s place). Students will roll all of their dice. Give students a number (either write it on a board, or have cards available for students to draw from if you want to put this into a center) and then challenge them to use the numbers they rolled to make a number larger than the number you have given them. I generally give the students on “re-roll” if they don’t have any digits that will help them make a number bigger than the given number.

3.) **Skip Count on From Here** – When practicing skip counting and multiples, an easy way is to give students one die (six sided or ten sided work best) and have them roll the number. Students should then skip count to one hundred. For example, if they roll a 2, they skip count to one hundred by twos. I generally do this in small groups or partners, rather than put individual students on the spot.

4.) **Make a Word Problem** – I love giving students a chance to make their own word problems, but they have a tendency to make work problems with numbers they will know, which can defeat the purpose. Instead, hand the student two (or three) die and let them roll up their numbers. Different die makes this easy to differentiate – your struggling students can roll up numbers 1-6, while your extension group uses a 20 sided die. Grab this free template from Google Docs to help guide students through creating their own problem solvers.

I hope some of these suggestions will help you use dice to teach math in a new and interesting way. Click HERE for more suggestions on how to use board games in the classroom.

# Literacy Ice Game

*I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:*

**Don’t Break the Ice – Part 1 (Literacy)**** **

*For each of these variations on Don’t Break the Ice, put a label or a small piece of masking tape on each piece of “ice”. On each piece of masking tape, write a letter of the alphabet.*

1. **Make a Word – ** As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students should use as many of their letters as possible to make words. After a designated set amount of time – 2 minutes is generally enough – stop the students and award one point for each letter used in an acceptable word.

2. **What’s Your “A” Word **– As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. For each letter they collect, they must come up with a word that begins with that letter. For example, if a student collects two pieces of ice after their tap, one with an A on it and one with a F on it, they may say “A is for Alligator and F is for Frog.”

3. **ABC Order – Front & Back –** As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students should line the letters up in ABC order. If students are already good at ABC order – try Reverse ABC order.

4. **Sorting your Ice** – As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students should sort their ice by given category (vowels vs. consonants, small, tall & fall letters, 1st half of the alphabet vs. 2nd half of the alphabet etc.) For an extra challenge, allow students to sort without a given category. After sorting, they will need to justify the category of their sort and why each of the letters belongs where it was placed.

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Don’t Break the Ice in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Click HERE for some more suggestions on using games like Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

# Count Up the Ice

**Don’t Break the Ice – Part 1 (Math)**** **

*For each of these variations on Don’t Break the Ice, put a label or a small piece of masking tape on each piece of “ice”. On each piece of masking tape, write a single digit number.*

1. **Add them Up – ** As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students will add up all of the digits on the ice they have collected. Award one point for the first student to get the correct answer and one point for the person with the lowest total sum. Repeat until one person scores 4 points.

2. **Line them Up **– As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students will line up all of the digits on the ice they have collected, from smallest to largest. Award one point for the first student to get their digits in order. Repeat until one person scores 3 points.

3. **Make the Smallest Number –** As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students will use all of the digits on the ice they have collected, and create a number with ALL of the digits. Award one point for the first student who is able to make the **smallest** number. Repeat until one person scores 3 points.

4. **Sorting your Ice** – As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students should sort their digits by into assigned categories (odd and even, greater than 5 and less than 5, prime and composite, etc.). You can have the categories listed on index cards, or you can allow the students to create their categories, and then explain their sort to their peers.

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Don’t Break the Ice in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Here are some suggestions for Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

# Word Play With Jenga

**Jenga – Part 2 (Literacy)**** **I know, I know, Jenga is a block game, how are you going to teach writing with it? Well, last week I gave you some tips for how to teach math with Jenga, now I have some ways, and all you need is Jenga and a little masking tape (the thin tape works best).

*For each of these variations on Jenga, put a small piece of masking tape on each Jenga block. On each piece of masking tape, write vocabulary word or sight word.*

1. **Read the Sight Words – ** Play Jenga using standard play rules, except if a student can read the word on the block, they do not put it back in the pile. If they can read their word, they get to keep it in a pile in front of them. When the tower falls, or you run out of blocks, the person with the most blocks in front of them wins. *For older students with vocabulary words instead of sight words, they can give a definition for the word instead of reading it.*

2. **Line them Up **– Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower falls, or when each student has 7 blocks in front of them, stop and have the students put their words in alphabetical order. The first one to get their words in alphabetical order wins.

3. **Make the Longest Sentence –** Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower falls, or when each student has 7 blocks in front of them, stop and have the students use their words to make a sentence. The student who can use the most words to make a sentence that makes sense wins.

4. – **Sorting by Parts of Speech** – Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower falls, or when each student has 7 blocks in front of them, stop and have the students and sort their words by part of speech (noun, verb, adjective). The student who can sort their words first wins. *Note some words can fall into more than one part of speech. For those words, allow students to justify where they have chosen to place that word.*

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Jenga in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Here are some suggestions for Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

# Jenga Math

**Jenga – Part 1 (Math)**** **I know, I know, Jenga is a block game, how are you going to teach math with it? Well, here are some ways, and all you need is Jenga and a little masking tape (the thin tape works best).

*For each of these variations on Jenga, put a small piece of masking tape on each Jenga block. On each piece of masking tape, write a digit 0-9.*

1. **Make the Biggest Number – ** Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower topples, over after each person has 7 blocks, have students put their digits in order to make a number. The student who can make the biggest number and read it wins the round.

2. **Add It Up** – Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower topples, over after each person has 7 blocks, have students add up their digits. The student whose blocks add up to the biggest number wins the round.

3. **Order It –** Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower topples, over after each person has 7 blocks,have students put their digits in order from least to greatest. The student to get them in order the fastest wins the round.

4. – **Count Down from 100** – Each student starts the round with 100 points. Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. As they pull a block from the tower, they subtract the number on the block from their total of points. The first person to reach 0 wins the round.

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Jenga in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Here are some suggestions for Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

# Literacy Practice with Scrabble

**Scrabble – Part 1 (Math)**

Scrabble is one of my favorite games for literacy skills! I even use Scrabble for math – here are some tips on how I do that.

1. **Standard Play – **Playing scrabble with just standard rules works on lots of word making skills. Teach students standard play with the strategy of using those double word scores and making a word plural by adding and s to get more points, and you’ll see their interest in spelling peaked.

2. **Longest Word Contest** – Rather than limiting students to 7 scrabble tiles, split the bag between your small group (think 20 tiles per child) and challenge them to make the longest word possible. This would be a great time to review compound words, prefixes and suffixes which can make shorter words into longer words!

3. **Describing Words – **Show students a picture, or give them the name of an item and challenge them to come up with an adjective that describes it – using only the words in their scrabble tray. Once everyone is finished, let them “justify” their answers (think apples to apples style). You’ll get adjectives and persuasive in all while the kids think you’re playing a game!

4. **Topic Word** – Have a new science or social studies topic and want to activate background knowledge? Give students 10 scrabble tiles and ask them to make a word that tells something about the topic. For example, if your topic is plants, maybe they will come up with roots, or leaves, very similar to a word cloud.

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Scrabble in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Here are some suggestions for Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

# Scrabble Math

*LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:*

**Scrabble – Part 1 (Math)**

Scrabble is one of my favorite games for literacy skills, but have you ever used it for math? Next week, we’ll talk about all the fun literacy topics to be covered with Scrabble, but this week, let’s think outside the box and talk about how to use Scrabble to teach and review math skills!

1. **Add up the Vocabulary Word – **This activity could actually cover spelling or vocabulary words AND math (got to love when cross curricular connections make themselves for you!) You will need to make cards ahead of time with your vocabulary words on them. Have each student pull a card from the stack, and then find the letter tiles that match the letters in the word. Then, each student should write down the numbers on each Scrabble tile and add them up. This is a great reinforcement for addition facts, and also works well for adding in a column, or finding groupings (ie. 3 + 1 + 2 + 4 is easier to add when you make 2 groups of five (3 + 2) (2+4) )

2. **Word Family Comparing Numbers** – Which word earns more points in Scrabble: bat or rat? Give students the tiles for 2 words of the same length, allow them to add up the score and compare the number. Which word is worth more? This is a great way to talk about strategy as well, which is just another form of problem solving!

3. **Probability – **Are you teaching probability? Use Scrabble letters to figure out the probability of drawing a S tile or drawing a Q tile. For example: of 100 scrabble tiles, there is usually only 1 Q tile in the bag, so you have a 1 in 100 chance of drawing a Q from the bag.

4. **Longest Word** – Increase those critical thinking skills by having students come up with the longest word they can, but add an extra challenge and say they can only have 10 points (or 15 points – depending on your class). Look for those creative answers to start coming!

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Scrabble in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Here are some suggestions for Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!