Some time last fall, before MacKale got sick, SDE (Staff Development for Educators) contacted me to ask if I might be willing to present this summer at their National I Teach K and Differentiated Instruction conferences in Vegas. While I was a bit nervous at the prospect, I accepted their offer. But then, of course, my teaching world as I knew it came to a screeching halt. I wavered back and forth, not knowing where I would be or where MacKale would be in his treatment this summer. I felt like I needed to contact SDE and cancel my participation, but through it all, my husband, Mike, kept saying . . . ‘you need to do this . . . you need to have something to look forward to . . . something you love to go back to after all this.’ So, I rolled the dice, I prayed and prepared and hoped that by the grace of God, the timing would work out, and I would have the opportunity to fulfill the commitment I made.
Well, last Sunday night, I walked into the presentation room assigned to me for the next day.
Empty it was intimidating enough . . .
. . . but when Monday morning came and it was full . . . wow! I’m not going to lie, I was a little freaked out. But here’s what I can tell you, teachers . . . and especially kindergarten teachers . . . are the kindest, most caring people you can ever be thrown in front of . . . Because of the kindness of all those teachers, I had an amazing experience and I had the opportunity to spend time with educators talking about things I am so passionate about. It felt like a graduation of sorts. I felt like I was finally coming home . . . graduating back to that part of my life that I missed desperately over the last year while I cared for MacKale and that part of my life that I love dearly . . . back to my teacher/blogger world. For that experience, I am so grateful to all my Vegas teacher friends who came out to see me. Thank you.
I never really imagined that ‘presenting’ would be ‘my thing.’ But, as with so many great experiences, as I sit here thinking over my days in Vegas, my head is already whirling with ideas of how to make my sessions better and more valuable to attendees the next time the opportunity arises. I have had some sleepless nights . . . but in a good way . . . waking up to write down ideas . . . and items I’d like to include ‘next time’. . .
because, quite honestly, when you are around that many people who love what they do, you start to feed off their excitement and their energy and that’s powerful medicine, let me tell you. You leave renewed and ready to start the new year.
During my two days presenting, I had the opportunity to speak about Fine Motor Ideas, Math Stations, Movement and Developmentally Appropriate Practices and Differentiated Instruction. There were a ton of ideas and resources I was able to share.
And one of the activities that I highlighted was a Super Sized Big Time Bump game that I made using giant floor dice that I was able to secure from a $5 Below store. (No there isn’t a $5 Below in my hometown . . . nor a Sonic nor a Target. I know, how do I survive? Believe me . . . it’s not easy for this teacher. But my sweet boys were nice enough to take a road trip with me so we could get these!)
I didn’t have time before I left, but as promised in my presentations, I am including the free printables to go with this activity today.
I love the idea of including the instructional strategies of game play and movement to my classroom instruction. When students play games they are forced to focus their attention and learn to cooperate with one another plus they increase their levels of cognition and working memory (Jensen, 2007). Add movement into the mix and your students will utilize more energy and, as a result, be more engaged (Marzano, 2007)
This Big Time Bump game merges those two great strategies into one activity. Bump is usually a game played on a small, table top, 8 1/2 x 11 playing mat. You can play with 2-4 players. Players take turns rolling a die or dice. When their die lands, they read the number of dots and find the matching number on the bump mat. If the square with the number is not already ‘marked’ with a snap cube by another player, then you can place your individually colored marker there. If there is one snap cube on the square which is owned by another player, then you can ‘bump’ that player’s snap cube off. However, you can secure your space if you happen to roll that same number twice and are able to accumulate two snap cubes on one space. When that happens, your place is safe and you can not be ‘bumped’ off. The person with the most spaces secured at the end of the game is the winner. Here is an example of the smaller version.
But how can you make a favorite game even better and MORE engaging? Make it BIGGER! So when I saw these dice I knew a Big Time Bump game was just aching to be created. And the reason I love this one so is that is can be easily differentiated. Instead of a small playing mat, use these differentiated bump cards to set your game up on any large table or floor. Just spread them out wherever it’s convenient. While we used snap cubes as stackable ‘markers’ for the smaller game, for this floor size version, I used different colored Solo cups.
Here’s how the game can be tiered:
- Number Recognition/Counting: Use the first set of cards and one die for number recognition and counting 1-6
- Addition With Numbers 1-6: Add 2 dice and number cards for 2-12
- Three Numbers Addition With Numbers 1-6: Add 3 dice and number cards for 3-18
- Multiplication of 1-6 Numbers: Use two dice and the multiplication cards. (Granted this is NOT a kindergarten skill, but I thought is might be useful for 2nd or 3rd grade teacher friends, so I included in this packet. Make sure you share my blog link with a teacher friend you think might be able to use this.)
And here’s the other thing, don’t fret if you don’t have a color printer, just use the black/white version I’ve included in this freebie. You can print them on different colored Astrobrights cardstock to easily organize your materials for tiering this activity.
If you don’t have a $5 Below store, you don’t have to use these dice. You can always grab some of the smaller but still larger than normal dice that you can sometimes find at the Dollar Store or Oriental Trading, or I even found a pin from The Craft Train that shows you how to make your own jumbo dice.
Just click on the button at the bottom of this post to get your cards, print them off and get ready for a game that will get them moving and having fun while working on those essential math skills.
I Teach K is such an amazing reunion of teacher friends and family. I’m so delighted that I was able to secure so many hugs from all those people who I’ve known over the last several years and who have especially supported me during this last year of MacKale’s journey with osteosarcoma. Their friendship and prayers are so precious to me. Until next time . . . Viva Las Vegas!
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I’m so glad you have been able to come back to your passion. You are an incredible inspiration to us. I dont think my first years in lower El, after being in 4-5th for 9years, would have been as successful with our your wisdom and amazing ideas. I always look forward to reading about your next adventure. Congrats on your success in Vegas! You ROCK!
Thank you so much Melissa.
Kathy Dailey says
I am so happy that your son is doing so well and you are able to get back to your other passion. Your ideas are awesome and your enthusiasm contagious! I just wish that you could come do a conference in the D.C./Virginia area. My kids love playing Bump so I know that this Big Time Bump will be a hit. Thanks again for your great ideas.