Probability Games

Two of my favorite probability games to play with my students are PIG and SKUNK. Yes, they are both animal names, but I’m not sure how they really relate to probability.

The rules are pretty simple for each of them and all you need are some dice and paper. The rules and board game sheets can be downloaded from this website:

When, I play PIG, I have my students play with a partner. All you need is one die per partner. For their turn, they can roll as many times as they want. However, if they get a 1, they loose all of their points. They can choose to stop rolling whenever they want. The first person that gets to a hundred points wins!

SKUNK is a little different, where each letter represents a round. I have each partner get a game board or they can just write it down in their notebook. For this game, they use 2 dice. If they roll a 1 on either one of the dice, they loose all the points in the round. If they roll double 1s, they loose all the points from the previous rounds as well. At the end of round 5, each partner tallies up all the points that they earned to see who won.




Have fun playing and may the odds be ever in your favor! 🙂


Making your Students feel like REAL Authors!

Several months ago one of our first grade teachers had an idea (I am pretty sure she got it from Lucy Calkins- we really like her here at our school). What if after we had a publishing party with our students final stories, we put the books in the school library? Then the whole elementary school could check out each other’s books, and the students would really be real authors! We e-mailed the school librarian to see if we could get a shelf reserved for this, and if we could put the books in the computer system. She happily obliged.

Can I be honest with you? I thought it was a great idea— really I did! The thing is… each first grade teacher only has six students, and laminating each page of each student’s book (so they wouldn’t get destroyed by the other students) for them, wasn’t too bad of a challenge. I have twice as many students (which is still a small class I know!), and my students- being in second grade- might write more, especially since we were doing our fairy tale unit. The thought of laminated a hundred pages (if not more!) of student’s writing was overwhelming. But after my students were able to check out the first grade “books” in our library, I had to do it. Their faces lit up when they held those books.

AND I AM SO GLAD I DID. I have never seen my students more proud and excited to complete their final published story. Being able to see it on the shelf, in our school library, was a huge excitement for them. They even got to LOOK up their books in the library catalog online. They looked so official.

Here is a picture if you made a search for a second grade book (sorry it’s dark!):

If you have the means to do this, DO IT. The corner shelf in our library has become very popular since their books showed up!

An example of what our books look like, this was from our “All About” unit. The students design a cover and back page:

What are some ways you get your students excited about their writing? 

Book Exchange

Our student council has a great event that they do every year called a book exchange. We had our book exchange this morning in the cafeteria when kids came to school. Basically, a few weeks ago, the student council collected books from students that they had read and were willing to give away. For each book that they brought it, they received a ticket. Then, on the day of the book exchange, all the collected books are put on the cafeteria tables. Each kid gets to choose from the selection of books, depending on how many tickets they have.

It’s a great way for kids to get new books to read and get excited to read. It’s nice having it at the end of the year, because by now, students have exhausted library and classroom books. Also, they will have some new books that they can read during the summer as well.

Here are the books that one of my students got from the exchange. He told me came to school by 7:30am (School starts at 8:10am) in order to be one of the first people there! I love his eagerness to get books!