7 Ways to Make Dice Simulations Rock!

I have been using dice simulations to integrate content and writing, or to just have fun with writing, for a few years now. Over the years I have come up with 7 tried and true tips that are sure to make every dice simulation a success!

1. Good Dice

Invest in a set of 6-8 foam dice. I get mine from Dollar Tree, but have seen them other places. At Dollar Tree they come in sets of two in variety of colors, so you really can't beat that!
These foam dice are quiet and will save you from the clinking and rattling of traditional dice. It may not seem like a big deal, but those little noises add up fast! An additional benefit of these foam dice is that they are large, so it is easy to keep track of them.

2. Silence, or as close as you can get

Silence is golden! I am all about students talking to their peers about what they are doing, but this is not one of those times. With the whole class up and moving it is important that students are on task, and not distracted by students taking part in another part of the task. I have found that some students want to narrate their whole journey if I allow talking, and I would rather avoid that.

3. Use peer models or coaches for struggling students

For my struggling students I partner them up so that they have a peer model to help them through the journey. Even when we do this each student is still responsible for their own recording sheet and writing.

4. Timing is Everything

Keep the simulation quick! The simulation portion of the assignment should be quick. Ten to fifteen minutes is more than enough time for most classes. This allows more time for writing, sharing, and connecting their journey to the content.

5. Take the time to cement Connection with Content

Make connections to the content! In between the simulation and writing, take the time to have a conversation about the connections that students made while they completed the activity. This is possibly the most meaningful part of the activity.

6. Talk it Out!

Before students start to write have them share their story out loud to a partner, just talking through their journey. When I model this for my students I make sure to be over the top about adding details, so that they understand that everyone might have a similar journey, but it is the details that make all the difference.

7. Give your students an Audience

Allow time to share. As with all writing, students need to know that there is an audience for their writing. I am guilty of cutting short or skipping altogether sharing, but this is a habit that I have to fight hard against, because it truly is one of the most important.
Ready to try out a dice simulation for yourself? Hop on over and try one out in social studies, science, or just for fun. 

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