Tag Archives: Roll the Dice

Silly Rabbit, Dice are for Kids (To Promote Learning & Understanding)

Last week during the #games4ed Twitter chat participants were discussing the use of dice in the classroom for learning activities. The creative ideas were flowing throughout the chat. When the dry erase dice were brought up during the chat, I thought of turning them into hieroglyphic dice for a history class to create stories of ancient Egypt and other ancient civilizations. But, there are so many more ways to utilize dice in the classroom as shared throughout the conversation.


In the ELA classroom I use dice in many different ways from Roll the Dice or Think Dot activities to having students roll dice and complete a writing prompt based on the number rolled. One might have students roll dice to determine the number of words to be written in a summary. Dice are also effective for Cubing, an instructional strategy that asks students to consider a concept from a variety of different perspectives. On the cube or dice are different activities on each side. A student rolls the cube and does the activity that comes up.  You can differentiate dice/cubes according to readiness, learning profile, or interest.

My students are currently writing investigative journalism feature articles and it dawned on me to create a Roll the Dice Revision Activity.  Working independently or in small groups, each student is given a revision activity sheet and a die. Each student rolls the die and completes the revision activity that corresponds to the dots thrown on the die (that is, if a student rolls a “three,” she then completes the revision activity with three dots on it.) 

In addition to building my own dice activities, there are story cubes and metaphor dice that one can purchase online. Rory’s Story Cubes is a pocket-sized creative story generator with pictures on the dice for users to create their own stories based on the images rolled. Metaphor Dice, conceived by award-winning poet and educator Taylor Mali, make the formation of metaphors as easy as rolling a handful of dice. These color coded dice require a user to combine one concept (RED), one object (BLUE), and adjective (WHITE), to build a metaphor.

The possibilities of using dice and building dice games across content area classrooms and grade levels in infinite. Share your ideas in the comments.

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Rockin’ n the Common Core Learning Standards: Ideas that blend Rock and Roll history and CCLS

I had the opportunity to present at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Summer Institute this week.  The summer institute includes a week long professional development opportunity I highly recommend.  The objectives of the institute include: (1) learning about the history of rock and roll and popular music, recognizing that music is the complex product of individual artistic creation, social and cultural communities, new technologies and emerging industries; (2) identify aspects of popular music culture that can be brought into the classroom in order to reinforce instructional goals, including meeting state and common core learning standards; and (3) plan classroom activities using featured Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame and Museum content and resources.

Below is my presentations and the resources I shared with the participants.

Rock and Roll Tweet

With this activity students have viewed Time Life’s History of Rock and Roll documentary. I have students take notes in their rock journal of the big ideas presented in the documentary.  At the end of the first episode, the video discusses how within a few years of the late 1950s rock and roll exploded in the mainstream and then hit some speed bumps — Elvis was drafted into the military, Buddy Holly’s plane crash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry had some legal issues due to their relationship with young women — this Rock and Roll Tweet activity allows students to infer and synthesize based on their understanding of the documentary.

Disco Roll the Dice

Roll the Dice is a differentiated jigsaw activity that allows students to collaborate and answer questions generated by the teacher.  As students walk into the classroom they get the handout above with questions on one side and a particular reading about Disco on the other side.  There are four different readings all about the history of Disco that range in reading complexity and sub topics.  Students take the first ten minutes of class to read and summarize the reading.  Then, students get into small groups with students who have the same readings and articulate their understanding.  After six or seven minutes the students then break up into a second small group that includes students who read each of the four different texts.  The students get a set of dice and each student has a chance to roll the dice and answer the question (with their peer’s help) that correlates to the number they rolled. A collaborative activity that allows students to work together, listen, and articulate their understandings.

Additional materials shared is available on my Rock Write Listen Wiki.  This includes a 1969 Woodstock QR Code Quest and Webquest about the 1980s.

A special thank you to Stephanie Heriger and Max Espinosa of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Education Department for the opportunity to present and share lesson ideas I am passionate about. 

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