Category Archives: Games

i’m sorry

So, I saw this tweet the other day:

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And I was like, “No, that’s not possible.  A game that’s better than the Chrome dinosaur?!!!”

So, I clicked on the link, which took me here. There were quite a few links in the story and I, of course, clicked on every single one except the one that actually took me to the “game.”

But then I found it.  And I think Chris Rogers might be right. Watching a shark swim through my address bar is pretty fun.  I enjoyed the plane, too.  But I have to say that my favorite is the “diy” option. 

Developer Glen Chiacchieri prominently displays, “i’m sorry” on the tab for this site.  

i'm sorry

And well he should be.  Because of him, millions of tasks will never be completed as people attempt to play the “pewpew” game in their address bar.

Which means that, once again, I’ve stumbled upon another perfect Phun Phriday time-waster that I can happily pass on to the readers of this blog.

I’m sorry!

Poetweet

Happy Phun Phriday!  It’s time for another completely frivolous blog post that might inadvertently inspire you to waste huge chunks of time on an activity that is not productive in any way.

I actually had Poetweet slated to be a Phun Phriday post a few weeks ago, but the site went down right when I was about to blog about it.  It seems to be working now, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the bazillions of people who read this post won’t break it by trying to access Poetweet at the same time ;)

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You don’t have to have a Twitter account to use Poetweet – but you need to know someone’s Twitter handle.  All you do is type in the handle, then choose what type of poem you would like (Sonnet, Rondel, or Indriso), and the magic happens.

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I don’t really know how it works.  And the poems don’t necessarily make sense – but then again, aren’t the best poems deliberately incomprehensible?  When you are viewing the poem on the Poetweet site, you can actually scroll over the lines to find out what Tweet they were found in.

Here are the three poems I made from my Twitter handle last night. Some lines are weirdly insightful…

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Free the Zoombinis!

Games have their place in education, but my students know that I tend to emphasize creation rather than consumption – especially when it comes to technology.  Few “education” apps pass muster for me, but I have a feeling this particular one will be on my “Gifts for the Gifted” apps list this December.

I first discovered the magic of the Zoombinis decades ago in my 5th grade classroom.  My students were enamored with the cute little creatures who needed to be guided to their new home through various levels in the TERC/Broderbund game, “The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis.”  Not only was the game fun, but the logic and problem-solving that it demanded were scaffolded extremely well, allowing students of different levels to feel successful when they played.

To be completely honest, I bought a personal copy of the game, and spent many nights with my young daughter (and without her) trying to advance through the different challenges.

Unfortunately, as technology advanced, the Zoombinis disappeared from my classroom.  We can no longer install our own software in our district, and I’m not sure the few games still available through online retailers would work on our newer operating systems.

I was thrilled, therefore, to see a Tweet yesterday that the Zoombinis have launched a Kickstarter!  TERC is teaming up with Fablevision and Learning Games Network to release an app for tablets as well as newly designed desktop software later this year. The Pizza Trolls, the Allergic Cliffs, the Fleens, the Lion’s Lair – they are all coming back with graphics optimized for today’s devices.

To learn more about the Zoombinis Kickstarter project, click on the image below.

zoombini

The Dinosaur that Hatched an Easter Egg

During my perpetual quest for the perfect Phun Phriday post (something that is fun and has zero educational value – but is appropriate for most audiences), I happened to read a tweet from Joe Hanson (@jtotheizzoe) about his new addiction to playing a game with the Google Chrome Dinosaur that appears whenever you try to access a site and your internet connection isn’t working.

Strangely, I have seen a lot of that dinosaur this week.  Apparently my router decided to implode.

I probably would have diagnosed the issue faster if I wasn’t ridiculously entertained by trying to get T-Rex to jump over cacti.

Don't pay attention to the score.  I just wanted to get a screen shot to show you.
Don’t pay attention to the score. I just wanted to get a screen shot to show you;)

If you hit the space bar when the dinosaur appears, you will find yourself less concerned about what happened to your wi-fi and more interested in getting your prehistoric, flapless bird past the swiftly approaching obstacles.  It’s kind of like Google’s way of saying, “Hey, don’t be mad at us because a website isn’t working; be mad at yourself because you have zero thumb-eye coordination. ”

What’s really bad is when your internet connection is actually working and you deliberately disable it to try to beat your embarrassingly low score that was topped by your 12-year-old daughter the first time she played the game.

Not that I’m judging anyone…

Here are some other Google Easter Eggs if you are interested!

Oh, The Weather Outside is Delightful!

For some of us, that is.  Giant panda, Bao Bao, for example, thoroughly enjoys the weather that, depending on your location, might shut down your entire city.

Most educators aren’t opposed to a snow day every once in awhile. What we dread more are those “Indoor Recess” days that can sometimes last for weeks.

GoNoodle has come to the rescue to help your students work off those wiggles.  They’ve added some “Indoor Recess Mega Mixes” to their ever increasing portfolio of brain breaks.  The next time you are stuck indoors with a 22 students craving some physical activity, you might want to play one of these 11-15 minute collections that include warm-ups, active time, and cool-downs.

Check out the new Mega Mixes from GoNoodle the next time you're stuck inside!
Check out the new Mega Mixes from GoNoodle!

They may not enjoy it quite as much as Bao Bao cavorting in the snow, but you never know!

Math Pickle Revisited

It amazed me to discover yesterday that the last time I posted about Math Pickle was in 2011.  This is a great resource for challenging those mathematical wizards in your class, and I really need to access it more often myself.

Math Pickle

“We learn best through hard fun,” is a quote that you will find on the Math Pickle website.  And there are many “hard fun” puzzles and conundrums to bewilder students of all age levels.

If this is your first time visiting Math Pickle, then I would recommend you click on the link for K-12 Video Support.  From there you can click on any grade level or math skill for a grid of suggested activities. Some of the activities are videos, while others include Powerpoint, Keynote, and even PDF worksheets.

Check out the Math Pickle Termite Terrorists Challenges here!
Check out the Math Pickle Termite Terrorists Challenges here!

My 2nd graders did the “Termite Terrorists” activity yesterday, and I really enjoyed watching them work through some of the puzzles. The included video is meant more to explain the activity to the teacher, but I actually showed the beginning to my students so they could see the lovely introduction that included the disgusting termites;)  This lesson lent itself to differentiation so easily because the students who made it through a puzzle could go on to another one that was a bit more difficult.  Their conversations and strategies were varied and fascinating.  We were amazed by some of the different solutions that could be found for the same problem. Since I actually didn’t look at any answers (and not all are provided), the students had fun trying to “beat” my lowest number on each challenge – and they often did!

Another wonderful resource on the site is the Curricular Puzzle Books link.  It includes free materials for Grades 1-6, and even includes a student-created puzzle book.

There are lots of other areas to explore on the site, including recommended board games.  Gordon Hamilton has done a fabulous service to the education community by providing so many great challenges and resources for free.  You can find out more about the amazing creator of this site, who also happens to be a board game designer, here.  If you can’t get enough hard fun from the Math Pickle website, check out Gordon Hamilton’s Teachers Pay Teachers site for additional puzzles available for purchase.

Invisible Ink Books

This Friday’s edition of “Gifts for the Gifted” may be a blast from the past if you ever went on long trips as a child without the benefits of electronic entertainment systems.

When I was little, preparing for travel consisted of packing a bunch of books to read and a few books of puzzles.  I can’t remember ever flying in a plane without one of these invisible ink books.

You can still find them in stores.  On the rare occasion I visit a Cracker Barrel, there is usually a display of invisible ink books.  Most of the ones you see these days are products of movie advertising, like Toy Story or Frozen.  But I was amused to come across some of the classics while browsing the “New Products” section of MindwareOnline.

Invisible Ink Books (image from Mindware)
Invisible Ink Books (image from Mindware)

My absolute favorites as a child were the Mr. Mystery Secret Agent Spy ones.  (You can find More Mr. Mystery and The Return of Mr. Mystery online as well.) I loved the challenge of the puzzles and the independence that the invisible ink pen gave me to become a detective in my own imaginary world.

mrmystery

I got my daughter one of these a couple of years back for an upcoming trip, and I think she enjoyed them just as much as I always have.  Of course, in retrospect I probably should have gotten one for myself, too!

For more ideas for gifts, check out my Pinterest Board.

gifts