Examples of Life Lessons from Strategy Games from Elementary Students

13 09 2009

When you don’t understand the rules, you cannot play the game of life successfully.

Be willing to learn new things so you are more equipped to make better choices and decisions.

Commit to paying attention and reflecting upon the actions and behaviors of those around you.

Your actions determine your outcomes.

Your life experience is made up of the choices you make and the outcomes that accompany them each and every day.

If you hope to have a winning life strategy you have to be honest about where your life is right now.

Life rewards action.

You must realize that your plans will alter and sometimes change along the way.  Winners adapt to these new developments.

A strategy requires courage, commitment and energy in order to succeed.

When you know your goals, you will recognize which choices support them and which do not.

Study and dissect your mistakes so you can avoid repeating them.

Study and analyze your successes so you can repeat the behavior that has brought you positive results.

Losers just make it up as they go along





The Educational Value of Strategy Games

13 09 2009

Your family has gathered around the dining room table and is playing a family game.  “Your turn”, says your daughter eagerly as she looks intently at the playing board then at you.  You know she has found your weakness.  She has learned from you how to solve a difficult situation.  She is excited about using a strategy and applying it and in doing so win a game. Most of us like this family have spent many hours playing board games as a pastime or as a rainy day activity. Teachers have also used games as educational devices or as reward activities for completing class work. We can all agree that board games have always been popular. But, is it possible for teachers and parents to take this fun activity and draw some life changing lessons from them? How can teachers and parents take more advantage of this fun teaching potential?

Some have even called this the Gaming Generation saying that even many video games, despite what many think, can prepare youths for the future. John C. Beck, a senior research fellow at the University of Southern California, and Mitchell Wade, a consultant to companies like Google and the RAND Corporation, have just published “Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever” (Harvard Business School Press). They assure us that by playing video games kids are actually training for the new world of work, not avoiding it. They are learning such lessons as: there is always an answer; you might be frustrated for a while, you might even never find it, but you know it’s there. Players are also learning willingness to take chances (60 percent of frequent gamers, compared with 45 percent of nongamers in the same age group, agree that “the best rewards come to those who take risks”). To add to this is a view that failure is a part of the game as well as a part of life.

If video games have this potential might not classic board games? Many have talked about the educational value of board games (especially Chess), but give little or no guidance on how to make them life-applicable. There are, of course, educational board games designed to teach or reinforce educational concepts such as math skills, historical trivia, etc. However, the games that may be most beneficial are those that teach creative problem solving and critical thinking.  How can we take advantage of this playful spirit and help students draw life applications from these fun activities? I believe it is possible with explicit teaching of strategy with games.

Because of instructive reasons I choose strategy board games, (two person, abstract strategy games) to begin with.  Two person games have face-to-face interaction with real people as opposed to most video games.  But, on the other hand, two person games emphasize strategy over team and social implications of multi-person games. For these reasons, strategy board games may be a more constructive choice than video games and a wonderful tool in teaching important life skills.

I will share more of these ideas in upcoming posts……..

From one thing, know ten thousand things.  When you attain the way of strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see….

if you know the way of strategy broadly you will see it in everything.

Miyamoto Musashi

A Book of Five Rings





Life Lessons From Brittany Bishop

13 09 2009

These life lessons were written by my daughter Brittany when she was 10 years old.  They were written as an exercise of drawing simple life lessons from ordinary experiences from life.

You can’t rewind life.

If you meet a  skunk make friends or run away.

If you name your store make sure it has a good name.

When you travel read the signs.

Learn a new language.

Easy is not always better.

It’s not boring with someone you like.

People most always miss the obvious.

We would see a lot more if we learn to see.

It’s easy to look but we have to learn to see.

If you’re with a teacher you like you have a better chance at doing better at school.

You mostly have room for cake but not always for broccoli.

If you are drawing a horse and it looks like a turtle, make it a turtle.

Sharing is when you give somebody cookies rather than a baloney sandwich.

Questions show you are interested.

Babies understand with their mouth.  Kids understand with their hands and adults understand with their ears.

A good conversation is like a journey and each word is like a pathway.

When you understand a strategy of a game it is less frustrating.

When you answer a question your learning is done.

When you forget things you have to go back for them.

Things don’t go right when you’re hungry.

Whining may sound musical but it is very annoying.

You might get surprises if you don’t demand things.

To know how to get somewhere you need a map.

To get life lessons you need experiences.

You can learn a lot from road signs.


You need to learn how to yield and not block intersections.





Quotations with a Language Twist

13 09 2009

1. A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two‑tired.

2. What’s the definition of a will? (It’s a dead giveaway).

3. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

4. A backwards poet writes inverse.

5. In democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.

6. She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg, but broke it off.

7. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

8. If you don’t pay your exorcist you get repossessed.

9. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

10. Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I’ll show you A‑flat minor.

11. When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

12. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

13. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

14. You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

15. Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.

16. He often broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

17. Every calendar’s days are numbered.

18. A lot of money is tainted. It taint yours and it taint mine.

19. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

20. He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

21. A plateau is a high form of flattery.

22. The short fortune‑teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

23. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

24. Once you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

25. Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.

26. When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she’d dye.

27. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

28. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

29. Acupuncture is a jab well done.

30. Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat.