My Favourite* starter


*Favourite = New Zealand spelling!!  Sorry to anyone else reading it, it’ll just have to look wrong to you…

I’ve decided to write about STRIKE-MERE for my post for Week 2 #MTBoS 2016 blogging initiative – my favourite starter that I incorporated into my class routines last year – every Tuesday.

Firstly, a big thanks to Jane Gray who shared this with me 🙂

How to play: Students pick and write down four numbers from 1 – 6, repeats allowed.  I then roll my dice (big and soft with a really annoying bell in it) four times.  Students win if they have the same number as rolled, in the same position as I rolled it.
The prizes are as follows:

  • STRIKE ONE (one number matched) = high five from me (or fist bump upon request)
  • STRIKE TWO (two numbers matched) = one sticker
  • STRIKE THREE (three numbers matched) = one thing from my treat box (stocked with a variety of stationery, lollipops, silly toys from the party section at the cheap shop – sticky-men were very popular last year, no idea why…)
  • STRIKE FOUR (all numbers matched, in the right order) = one day playing games, at a time agreed by myself and the winner (to avoid the run up to high stakes assessment, or when the winner will be away)

For example: if a student picks 4 5 1 4 as their numbers, and I roll 3 5 6 4, then they win Strike 2 (for the 5 in the second position and the 4 in the last position) – make sense?

Why I like this game so much: This is a fast, quick game (takes about five minutes at the start of class).  Students all seem to enjoy it a lot.  You can work out the probabilities and expected number of periods playing games (about once every two years, on average but don’t tell…) if students seem inclined to head down this direction but (and this is the part I love the most) … I noticed last year, in the process of wandering round the class to see who had won, I checked in with every single student – it might have been a quick commiseration with them that they didn’t win, a smile and a high five when they did, a “don’t let sticky-man distract you” comment when they picked him from the treat box, or a very loud full class cheer when a STRIKE FOUR was rolled – I connected with every single student in the first few minutes in class.  And it was easy, natural and in good humour (NZ-spelling again)

Things I do to run STRIKE-MERE smoothly in class:

  • Students need to write their numbers down on paper quickly when they arrive at class (or get their more organised neighbour to write them down for them).  There is a bit of trust going on here – and I let my students know this.
  • Late students to class get to roll the dice (their lateness is acknowledged, but not in a bad way – those things can be dealt with later individually if needed)

That’s it…. and my favourite thing 🙂


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