Month: March 2016

Play Journal – Farkle


I had seen the game pop up in my recommended from Amazon, I was actually getting ready to order the Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee game, and decided that would be a fun game to play after Easter Dinner. Note: My dad is a die hard poker player. He gets together with his friends every week to play. He was a good sport and tried the game anyway. He did not like that, in his mind, it was mainly luck of the roll compared to poker where there is more strategy.

The rules that I found on the internet were different then my husbands rules so we played one game of each. Here is a link to the rules – Mainly you keep rolling as long as you get dice that score – 1 or 5 or groups of 3 or more of the same dice in the same roll. But if you want to take a risk and keep rolling but have no scoring dice (it happened at least 7 times when we played throwing all 6 dice) then you loose all points you had accumulated from your current turn. This relates directly to our reading from Holden regarding taking risks and trying out different ways of thinking.

Since it is a dice game there are all sorts of ways that you could change it up. We actually have a random dice that is brown. I was thinking that it would be fun to make that special in some way. Like choosing the power-ball number – say a number before rolling and if the colored dice comes up that number you take the total points that you rolled times that number.

Surprisingly even though both times I started out behind everyone I won both games.They were playing each roll to get the most points possible where as I was playing to observe them and just get a few points on the board each roll. I noticed as we were playing we were conversing both about the game but then also helping each other quickly add up the total points. This would be a great game for children any where from age 4 and up to practice their math skills in a fun way.

Scholarly Critique #4

Playing Games in Classroom Helping Pupils Grasp Math – Benefits for poor children seen to be particularly encouraging

By Sean Cavangh

This article initially grabbed my attention because it is about math. A subject that I enjoy but that many of my student teachers find challenging to teach in a classroom because they do not enjoy math. There are times when I discuss math standards and ask for ideas regarding how to make math fun, that I receive blank stares or comments like, ‘we could sing songs or count our fingers and toes’. Math is fun and most people use it daily without really ever thinking about it. From identifying shapes, to calculating the correct amount to give as a tip, to where they need to place their hands as they anticipate the arch of the baseball so they can catch it in a mitt to win the game. Another item that attracted me was that the article had a directly link to the research by Ramani and Siegler (2007) regarding Promoting Board and Stable Improvements in Low-Income Children’s Numerical Knowledge Through Playing Number Board Games. I appreciate it when authors provide direct links to resources that they refer to in their writings.

His idea regarding learning is that research is indicating that students who come from disadvantaged areas are quicker to pick ups on different math concepts when they are experiencing numbers within a game. Though this articles does not directly address the social benefits, I believe that they are still an underlying support. When you do worksheets by yourself there is no support and the grade can feel demeaning. Where as when you play a game there are different winners each time. Thus giving you the feeling of hope that through a better understanding you will be a winner. The value of a simple game compared to expensive specific text, worksheets, computer tasks.

It is interesting (and really quite sad) to read the findings regarding parents and teachers being reluctant in viewing games as a learning tool and adding them to their activities. As this article focuses on low-income children I am drawn to my History background which indicates that low-income children in the past were better with numbers and calculations because they were helping with the buying and selling that the family did to make a living. Think about the farm children that work in their families stand, they can quickly make change (calculations using 10,000’s down to 10’s – unfortunately credit cards have taken away that opportunity) and understand basic geometry (how many items will fit neatly in that sack).

This is one of the most power comments in the article, ‘Turning off the television and engaging children in a simple game just a few times a week can greatly improve their comfort in math, said Mr. Clements, who has designed a curriculum based in board games, puzzles, computer software, and other activities to build youngsters’ number skills.’ It discusses that there are different types of games and the importance of ‘engaging’ children in activities. Not just sitting them down and saying do this by yourself, ask me questions if you do not understand. This leads to more social interactions which are beneficial to all children’s growth both socially and emotionally.

This article also provided a link to Everyday Mathematics: Resource and Information Center via The University of Chicago. This is a great tool for teachers. I plugged in the word ‘games’ into the websites search tool and it came up with over 100 different articles and activities. Another website I will be adding to my course for my student teachers. The more resources teachers attain and use during college the better they will be at bring new ideas, such as using gaming to help children build math and social skills, into their classroom and changing for the better our current education system.


Retrieved on March 17, 2016.

Scholarly Critiques #5 – Math plus Literature

Developing Math Games Based on Children’s Literature

By K. Cutler, D. Gilkerson, S. Parrott, and M. Browne

Maybe it is because Pi Day was just a couple of days ago or the impending doom of the calendar numbers reaching 4/15/2016, I have been drawn to another article about math and games. This brings in another subject, literature, which is considering I am needed to create a new syllabus for a literature class we are offering at the college this fall. Another reason that I choose this article is that this is another subject area that, in general, we continue to see a widening in the learning disparity. Children with limited access or may be from a low income family are struggling to keep up with their peers. Helping student teachers to find meaningful ways to demonstrate that learning is fun and all subjects are connected, is something that I try to focus on each semester.

The authors cite several different research papers regarding learning activities for young children and how this learning needs to be meaningful and come from the real world (in other words give the copier a break no more ditto sheets). The idea of using literature as a tool for expanded learning opportunities which involved all eleven of the different subject areas as well as the four different domains of: social, emotional, cognitive, and physical. Most of the paper discussed how simple board games with dice/spinners can help children with number recognition. Combine this with a board that follows a books storyline it also encourages the children to sequence and learn to use recall tools.

Socialization, turn taking, and understanding how to control emotions are a key factor to the games that were suggested. Though my experience with young children and games it is recommended to pair children who are newer to playing games with more experienced peers. This encourages socialization as well as the more experienced child gets to take on the role of the leader.

All games shown were material games so the children would have hands on experiences. Though there are books that have online/app games that children can play as well. I would be helpful if there were some simple programs that teachers could use to create games by inserting pictures and words from books in order to make a game that children could play on the computer or app. This would allow for a greater diversity of games for the teacher to offer. Also if the program was simple enough older children could help with creating the games and rewards (points) system.

I appreciated that the authors provided a variety of different game styles and examples for teachers to build off of. Though each game would be limited in its own way because it would be directly tied to a book, it is also very flexible in the fact that the teacher can select which type of game format they would use: from simple board to a board with different path choices, to creating a fish through the role of the die. This type of choice also allows for the teacher to recognize the different levels of learning that happen in the classroom in order to create a game that most children can be successful playing.

This article was easy to read with great ideas for teachers. I am going to add it to my online classroom for my student teachers to read because I think it will be helpful when we discuss creating games for children.

Retrieved March 18, 2016:

Play Journal (Extra) – Clue

Fun evening playing Clue with my hubby and son (25). My hubby commented on how he liked the traditional game better. That it was easier to follow who was where and how to reason out who was the killer. Interestingly my hubby never enjoyed Scooby-Doo as a child. Thus my assumption is that my son and I enjoyed it because we both enjoyed Scooby-Doo as a children and could relate to the characters and weapons where as my hubby could not. I wonder if they have a Clue game based on  John Wayne westerns.