The last week of school is upon us but I don’t know if I am going to survive the week. Maybe it was just me but I remember when I was a child that by the time my dad’s birthday came around in June(21) we were done with class. We would empty our desks, stack up our chairs and push them out in the hallways and say goodbye to an empty classroom. Now school years go later and later and we end up babysitting the class for another week. Grades closed two weeks ago, final report cards are printed, stuffed and ready to go home. In fact everything is ready to go home, the students, the teachers, everything. But here we sit waiting trying to dream up useful educational activities that will keep the kids motivated, interested or at the very least on task. The later of these is by far the hardest; even here in NY it is 85˚, sunny and beautiful outside. And on top of that the baby chickens have all hatched and been adopted off to various families. So now what…Yahtzee
I decided to have a Yahtzee tournament today. The kids reluctantly agreed to it, after I told them there would be prizes involved. Until recently, most of my class had never played the game before and to be honest neither had I. (My parents didn’t like dice games.) Yahtzee is an entertaining game that requires some basic problem solving and simple math and it keeps them busy for at least 45 minutes with each round. Besides it’s better than watching Frozen for the tenth time. Other than shaking of the cup with the dies and the occasional screaming when someone gets a “Yahtzee” it is pretty quiet.
The class split into four groups of five with at least one “experienced” player in each group. Two groups of girls and two groups of boys and I joined the one boy group. I like to play with the kids because I don’t like to let kids win, unfortunately sometimes they do and the kids really like that. And I am a terrible sport, that’s why I banned 7up years ago.
Looking around the room and watching the kids play, there was a lot of smiling and laughing. Some of the kids were blowing on the dice because it was good luck; others were dropping them from high or just simply trying to slide them out. There was very little arguing and fighting and the experienced players helped things along quite nicely. It was refreshing to see them interacting and playing without screaming about cheating and rules or turns. But probably the nicest thing was the computers and technology were all sitting idle while 20 kids played with4 cups and 20 dies.
After all the dice were rolled and the scores added up we headed out to lunch and the playground. As we returned into the building kids were all shouting about watching Frozen at 1:30 and my class simply said, “When is the next round of Yahtzee?” Maybe they are still learning something after all.