Friday, March 30, 2012

Use Playing Cards in Writing??

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:



Playing Cards – Part 2 (Literacy)

For weeks now, we’ve been looking at board games, but this week, were looking at one of the simplest – and cheapest type of games – playing cards! My grandmother was a product of the depression and all she had growing up was a deck of cards. She taught me every card game out there (Here’s a link with rules for lots of games). These games themselves can be great for teaching strategy and critical thinking, but there are so many other ways to use playing cards in the classroom. Last week, we looked at using playing cards in your math lessons.  Here are some ways to use playing cards in your literacy lessons.

1. Code Word Spelling – For this activity, you will only need half of a cardmatcodefreebiedeck of cards.  Split the cards into a red pile and a black pile and then you can 2 students or two groups of students can share one deck of cards.  If students need to use the same letter more than once, they may need two “half” decks of cards.  Have students use the code sheet to spell their spelling and/or vocabulary words with their half of a deck of cards.  Grab the code word sheet for FREE from Google Docs.


2. Code Word Creation – For this activity, you will only need half of a deck of cards. Split the cards into a red pile and a black pile and then you can 2 students or two groups of students can share one deck of cards.  If playingcardmatmakingwordsstudents need to use the same letter more than once, they may need two “half” decks of cards.  Students will make words of different lengths.  Have students start by trying to make 3 letter words, then 4 letter words, then 5 letter words.  Students can also race to see who can make the most words – using the code with the cards they have.  Grab the code word sheet and mats for FREE from Google Docs.


3. Luck of the Draw Story Guidelines – For this activity, you will only need the number cards – remove face cards (K, Q, J) from the deck ofplayingcardmatstoriesfreebie cards and set to the side – the Ace remains and counts as 1.  Students will “draw” cards to put on one of the story maps.  These story maps will give students guidelines on what needs to be in their story (ie. 5 sentences, 1 character, 2 settings and 1 surprise).  Students will then take what the cards have determined and write a story using that criteria.  Grab 2 different story guideline mats for FREE from Google Docs.


4. Silly Number Stories - For this activity, you will only need the number cards – remove face cards (K, Q, J) from the deck of cards and set to the side – the Ace remains and counts as 1. Students will “draw” cards playingcardmatsillystoriesfreebieto put on one of the story maps. These story maps will give students guidelines on what needs to be in their story – rather than dictating length and elements, these story maps will dictate silly things they must work into their story – leading to creativity and critical thinking (ie. 5 cats, 1 grizzly bear, 2 unicorns and 1 bowl of soup). Students will then take what the cards have determined and write a story using that criteria. Grab 4 different story guideline mats for FREE from Google Docs.
I hope some of these suggestions will help you use playing cards to teach math in a new and interesting way. Click HERE for more suggestions on how to use board games in the classroom.


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