Reflections on Game Day…

Arcade Game Day!

Arcade game day was awesome, everyone came up with great games that involved learning through play!  I was impressed by everyone’s level of creativity in coming up with a combination of both fun and learning.

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Was your game one of chance or skill or a combination of both?  How did people respond to the style of play?
My game, EZ as Pie Fraction Action was a game of both skill and chance.  It begins with a bit of chance by spinning the wheel.  When the wheel stopped on a fraction, then came the skill part.  The player needed to create the fraction visually with a paper representation of a pie.  When the fraction is properly displayed with the paper pie, some skill was then required to tell me the percentage of that fraction.  The final part of the game required a bit luck by being able to throw jacks into a cup that displayed the percentage equivalent of the fraction that was selected. Judging from the various player reactions, it seemed like everyone enjoyed the game.  Even though some players couldn’t tell me the percent some fractions equaled, I had to keep giving them clues 🙂

Did your game allow for players to construct knowledge (through play they learned the lesson) or was it more of a showcase of knowledge (asking players for answers to questions would be a good example)?
My game can be used to learn about fractions by seeing it visually with the pie and it can also be used for rote memorization learning methods.  Once the players have a foundation of fractions, this game can be used to memorize the various fractions facts.  For this reason, it think the appropriate grade level is 4th or 5th grade.

How did the mechanics of the game turn out?  Was it slow, fast, cumbersome, just right.  Same with the rules.  What would you change and why?
The mechanics of the game turned out well.  The electric motor and battery pack kept it interesting.  The pace of the game was quick as you move from one part to the next.  This is especially useful for kids who have shorter attention spans.  If this game was implemented in a classroom, I would modify it to include a timer for each game.  As the kids get familiar with the fractions, the next step would be to make it second nature to them.  Sort of like 2 + 2 = 4 (no one thinks about that but everyone knows the answer)

At the end of the first day, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that I had to understand.  I had never blogged before and was not familiar with some of the concepts such as embedding a youtube video, let alone making a youtube video!   Through asking questions, researching and collaborating with my classmates, each day was more fun and interesting than the previous day.  I now have a twitter and pinterest account that I use daily.  Aside from the blogging and creating games in class, I really enjoyed reading and researching about different bloggers in my field.  This was one of the very few classes that I can say I’ll be referencing for years to come.  It will definitely play a role when I look for efficient methods of teaching as I begin my career as an elementary school teacher.

I now understand why the class was designed and constructed around the arcade.  If I had to put a theme around this winter session, it would be ‘Learning Through Fun’.  Since we are all [hopefully] future educators and former/present students.  We can see that when a topic is interesting it makes it easier to understand and learn.  For children, what better way to learn than to go to an arcade.

The assignment that I’ll never forget was the ‘make a tutorial assignment’.  Although it wasn’t as easy as it sounded, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Thank you Professor Smith for a wonderful experience!

Building EZ as Pie Fraction Action

The goal I had set for EZ as Pie, Fraction Action was for it to be fun and educational.  I chose to do a math game because my eldest son, Omar, who is 10 years old and in 5th grade, had a tough time understanding fractions.  He is currently working on fractions in school and had a difficult time memorizing the percentage equivalent of fractions.  By creating a game where he can visualize the pie representing fractions would help him to understand the concepts.

Building Process:
I drew a picture of a pie onto cardboard paper, colored it and then cut it into eight pieces.  I then made a wheel that had different fractions on them.  I attached the wheel onto the upper left side of a poster board, connected to the gear part of a motor which was attached to the back of the cardboard.  The motor was connected to a battery pack and an on/off switch in a series circuit formation.  I drew the title of the game on construction paper in bubble letters, cut them out and glued it to the top center of the poster board.  I then cut out circle shapes and cut pieces out and glued it to decorate my poster board.  I also wrote fractions and percents all over the board.  On the upper right side, I attached a print out of the rules of the game.  On the bottom of the poster board I attached a shoe box cover, which I glued constructions paper onto for decoration.  Then I glued eight small cups onto the board with percents on them.

My cardboard pie

My fraction wheel

motor and battery pack

cups with percent of fractions


Creating this game was fun, I love gluing, cutting, coloring…pretty much anything that involves art!

EZ as Pie Fraction Action

There are many methods in teaching children fractions.  I modified a traditional fraction lesson from Patty’s Pie Shop Lesson Plan.  My modified lesson plan will be directed towards 3rd and 4th graders.

I will use a pie as an instrument to teach the concept of the fraction.  I will first explain that a fraction represents a portion of the pie.  The pie will be cut into 8 pieces.  Therefore each piece will represent 1/8 of the pie.  I will also explain the terminology associated with fractions such as numerator (top number) and denominator (bottom number of the fraction).  The bottom number represents the total amount of slices in the pie and the top number represents how much is remaining in the pie.  For example 5/8 means that there are 5 pieces left out of a possible 8 pieces.

It will be easier for children to understand fractions if they have visual aides to represent the equation.  Children are visual learners and the best technique of how to teach fractions, in my opinion, involves showing them what fractions are.  Making them realize that they use and see fractions everyday without even knowing it.  My sons favorite sport is basketball and he figured out that free throw percentages are fractions.  His favorite player, Carmelo Anthony shot 9/10 from the free throw line, so his free throw percentage was 90% of that game.

I would modify this lesson by adding in some game play ideas.  I drew a picture of a pie and cut it into pieces.  I then made a wheel that has the different fractions on them.  The first step would be to spin the wheel.  If the wheel lands on 1/4, the next step would be to show me, using the pie, what is 1/4 of the pie.  Then they will have to tell me what is the percent of 1/4, if he gets it correct, he gets 2 tickets, he will then have 2 chances to throw a jack into a bowl labeled with the correct percentage of the fraction.  If he gets it in he gets 3 more tickets.

mockup of my game

My eight year old son was the first player.  He spun the wheel and it landed on 3/8.

He then showed me what 3/8 of a pie looks like.

The next step was to tell me what percent is 3/8 equal to, he couldn’t tell me what the answer was because he didn’t know how to work it out.  He is in third grade so they didn’t do fractions and division yet.  So, I decided to make a small chart that shows the division on how to get the percentage of a fraction e.g. 3/8 x 100/1 then divide….  By making this chart, he was able to see how fractions turn into percents.  After I did that he was able to find the answer so he got 2 chances to throw the jack into the bowl labeled 37.5%

My other two children, ages 5 and 10 also played the game.  The ten year old was able to to get everything correct because he is learning fractions in school, getting the jack into the bowl was a bit challenging but he had fun trying.  Surprisingly my five year old was able to show me on the pie the correct fraction but of course she wasn’t able to tell me the percentage.  The chart was not easy enough for her to find the answer.  She also had a tough time getting the jack into the correct bowl because of her aim.  She had a lot of fun playing and I’m sure if she played a few more times, she would know all the fractions and percents.

The kids had a lot of fun playing this game.  My 10 year old who is in fifth grade has to memorize fractions on flashcards.  I make him sit for twenty minutes a day and memorize them which he hates.  He thought this was a much better way to learn.  This mockup has simple fractions, once students can grab the concept, I can change the fractions and percentage to suit their age group.

Lessons to byte into!

I used photovisi for my K-12 visual assignment.  It’s a photo collage service where you just need to upload your photos and the template, then download it.  I made a collage on community workers.  This is appropriate for children in kindergarten since they have a community helpers unit in this grade.  Instead of coloring workers in books, I thought that taking actual pictures of them or cutting them out of magazines and putting it together in a collage with the children would be more fun for them.  These are different jobs in our community that children are familiar with.

How I created this collage:

  1. I went to image search and looked for pictures of community workers, e.g. police, fire fighters, etc. and saved them on my desktop.
  2.  I went to and selected a template style
  3. Once I selected the template, I added my photos
  4. Once the pictures appeared on the collage, I resized and moved them around.
  5. I then clicked finished and downloaded the collage
I’ve never used photovisi but the instructions were pretty straightforward.  It was easy to use.
I used iMovie for my video assignment.  This lesson will be based on identifying animals that belong to a particular habitat.  In my example, I used the rainforest.   I would give them a region of the world based on its climate and their assignment would be identify the various forms of life that inhabit that area.

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How I created this video:

  1. I went to image search and looked for pictures of animals in the rainforest and saved it.
  2. Opened the iMovie program
  3. I selected new project from the menu
  4. I selected the template for my movie
  5. I then dragged the photos into the template
  6. I gave my project a name and saved it
  7. From the share menu on iMovie, I selected youtube and uploaded the video

iMovie was fun and simple to use.  It gave you step by step instructions.


Chuck E Cheese Sea Quaizy

Our visit to Chuck E Cheese turned out to be lots of fun!  By playing the games, I was able to get great ideas on creating educational games.  I found a game called Sea Quaizy, that I thought was entertaining and simple to play.  Although I enjoyed playing other games too, I chose this one to modify because it seemed like it could be a fun educational game as well.

Me playing Sea Quaizy

Sea Quaizy
To play the game, you have to insert a coin in the slot.  A small ball is elevated up by springed coils, after you press the button, the ball rolls down a ramp that guides it down to the bottom of the “sea”.  As the ball makes its’ way down the ramp it starts spinning 3 starfish.  The starfish have 5 different colored rays/arms.  The player then proceeds to stop the starfish on the same colored rays/arms by pressing the button 3 times.  At the bottom of the “sea” the ball passes underneath an octopus.  The octopus has various point values on each of its 8 arms.  Whatever point value lights up when the ball passes underneath an arm is the number of tickets awarded to the player.  This game is based on luck and the outcome is random.  I got LUCKY three times!

My modification to Sea Quaizy will be geared towards 4th-5th graders.  I’m not sure exactly how I will create this game…some ideas that I have are putting fractions (1/2, 1/4 etc.) on 1 spinning circle, on another circle put percentages of what the fractions equal (50%, 25% etc.)  The goal of the game would be to match the fraction with the percent.  I would divide my students into two equal groups and they will each have a turn at spinning the wheel.  Whatever fraction the wheel lands on, the student has to tell me the percentage of that fraction.  They will get 1 point if they answer correctly.  Then they will have a try at spinning the percentage wheel, if it lands on the correct percentage of their fractions they get two more points.  If they don’t give me the correct percentage answer after the first spin, they won’t get any points and the other team will have their turn.

Since I plan on teaching children with special needs, it is known that they learn at a faster rate through visual queues and play.  Children learn best through playing because fun activities help to increase their level of focus (an interesting article on learning through play).  Trying to teach them fractions through a game will help them to memorize the percent of fractions.


Battleship Redux and Remixed


Step 1-Pick a board game to modify
The board game I chose to modify is Battleship because it’s one of my favorite board games to play for as long as I can remember.

Step 2-Think of new ways to play on the board
Bowls containing pieces of paper with coordinates

Step 3-Pick a new goal for the game
The goal of the game is exactly the same as the original – to sink all of the other players’ ships.

Step 4-Create a new core mechanic
Players will get a chance to pick a coordinate from the bowl.  By modifying the mechanics of the game, it becomes a game of random luck rather than skill and strategy.

Step 5-Modified rules of the game
Set up the game as per the original directions.  Once the ships are in place (each player may place the ships where they choose), the players have 2 bowls next to them.  The first bowl contains pieces of paper with “coordinates”.  e.g. H-4, B-3

The first player, instead of calling out coordinates for his missle strike, will do the following…

1. Draw a piece of paper from the first bowl with the coordinates.
2. Read the coordinates out loud.  (e.g. D-6)
3. The other player will place a “hit (red) missile” or “miss (white) missile” on that location.
4. The paper that was drawn will be placed in the other bowl. (to prevent each player from drawing the same coordinates)

This is repeated by each player until all the ships of the opposing player has been hit.

*Having a “hunch” or knowing exactly where the other player places their ships has no advantage.  Peek all you want.


Step 6-Play test your game
By modifying this game, I was able to play it with my five year old daughter and I didn’t have an advantage due to skill or strategy because she won!  She understood that she won due to the coordinates that she drew from the bowl rather than being allowed to win.  The reason I chose to simplify the game is because it gives younger (4-6 year old) players a chance to win when playing against older players.  The original rules of the game were still a little tough for her to comprehend.  The random nature of the new rules makes it a bit more fun to play against someone less skilled or much younger than yourself.

Have Fun!

Baby Talk Visual

I chose to do a visual for the DS106 assignment. is a photo service that it very simple to use.  I found a photo through Google image search and uploaded the photo to which is a web based tool that allows you to easily add speech bubbles to your photos. Once you add your speech bubbles, you can save it locally or upload it to your facebook or blog account.

The Price is Right – CREDIT CARD




Rules: The player chooses a credit limit out of the container.  Then they will have to select three items (one at a time) that totals below the credit limit they chose.  If their total does not exceed the credit limit, they will win all eight prizes!

Core Mechanics: The player has to have a good estimate of how much these items cost

Goal: The players goal is to try and guess which 3 items total won’t exceed the credit amount they chose

Space: The items just have to be visible to the player so it is best that they stand in front of the credit limits container and the item cards

Components: Eight cards with 1 item on each (the price is on the back but the player is not able to see it), a container with different credit limits, calculator for adding up the price of the items.

Credit Card Mockup

Description of my mockup:  I searched for the cost of 8 products that I had drew on a paper.  On the reverse side of the paper, I wrote down the price of each item.  Then I crafted a cylinder out of paper and placed a few pieces of paper inside of it.  Each piece of paper contains a number which represents the value of 3 products.

Modification: Our group decided to modify the Credit Card game.  My suggestion to the modification is a rule change.  It’s a slight change but I thought it would make the game a bit more challenging.  The same rules apply except that the total price of the items shouldn’t be below $100 from your credit limit.  A few of the items that I drew are similar in price so this makes the game much more interesting in my opinion!  If you guess the right amount you win all eight prizes but if you go above, you get nothing.


Special Thinkers

In my quest to find resources on the web that can guide me towards my goal of becoming a special education teacher, I found quite a few sites that fit my criteria.   None of them stood out as much as the “classroom in the corner” blog.  The blogger is Cortney Lyon and she is a 4th grade special education teacher in California.  Her blog was rated A+ on

She blogs about different teaching techniques such as the token economy system which is a positive reinforcement technique using tokens as milestones and a reward upon completion.  She also blogs about how she designed the floor plan of her classroom (which she paid for with her own money).  She not only takes her teaching serious and goes to great measures to make sure her students have the best chance at success under her watch, but she also makes sure that the environment for learning is present all around them as well.  Her blogs are so practical and full of experience that it was nominated for the 2012 Most Fascinating Special Education Blog Award.


Cortney Lyon building her classroom before the start of the school year.


An organized “After” picture of the planning station

After reading posts from her blog and looking at her blogger profile bio, I can see that teaching is not just her career but its her passion.  She seems so entrenched into it that it motivates me just reading about her.  She makes it easy for me to branch out and find other resources to learn and teach these children.  On her bio page she takes the time to list out the list of blogs she follows (all sixty-one of them!!!)

This is definitely going to be a resource I turn to for years to come!




How to crochet a headband

I have been crocheting since I was 15 years old, It’s a hobby of mine and I find it very therapeutic and relaxing.  It calms me and relieves the stress.  It provides me with a sense of accomplishment when I complete a certain project.  It also gives me a way to express myself and make something unique and meaningful for others.

Overall I am pleased with my video because I’ve never done a tutorial before.  It was pretty tough trying to record because I had my three children at home, that’s why there is so much noise in the background.  If I could change anything, it would be the angle of the video camera, a head view would have been better to follow.  Just want to thank my children especially my five year old daughter, Salma, for proudly wearing all of my creations!