Friday, January 20, 2012

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:

Yahtzee – Part 2 (Literacy)

One of my favorite games growing up was Yahtzee, and I was super excited when my oldest son was old enough to learn how to play it! It can be such an educational game, and so, I thought it was the perfect game to feature as my second board game for Game Night Fridays! (The first game was Chutes and Ladders, click here if you missed it!) Here are four ways to use Yahtzee to teach literacy skills. Check out last Friday’s post to see my four ideas for how to use Yahtzee to teach math skills.

For each of these variations, you will need to use index cards to write a variety of words (sight words, spelling words, vocabulary words would all work). Make sure you have a variety of length to your words. Rather than rolling dice, have students draw 5 cards, read the cards out loud and then proceed with each variation.

1. 3 of a Kind, 4 of a Kind, Yahtzee! –  Using the number of letters in their word try to make a 3 of a kind, a 4 of a kind or a Yahtzee.  (You might allow them to put cards at the bottom of the pile and redraw as you do in Yahtzee.)  Award one point per letter and keep score on a Yahtzee score card.

2. Word Grouping –  Have students group words by the number of vowels or consonants are in each word, using the number of vowels or consonants in their word try to get their 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s or 6’s.  ie. ate would be a 2 if you were playing with vowels or a 1 if you were playing with consonants. (You might allow them to put cards at the bottom of the pile and redraw as you do in Yahtzee.) Award one point per letter and keep score on a Yahtzee score card.

3.  Categorically Speaking – Allow students to put their cards into categories.  If they can sort their cards into 2 piles and give you categories that they can justify, they can get their points for a full house.

4. Straight to ABC Order – Have students put their words in alphabetical order.  Students who get their cards in ABC order on the first try can get a large straight, students who need a second look can get a small straight.  Keep score on a Yahtzee score card.

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Yahtzee in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!