Sunday, January 22, 2017

Making Connections - Mystery Number Skype

This week my students participated in our first "Mystery Number" game using Skype.  I was lucky enough to connect with another kindergargarten teacher through a Facebook page for kindergarten teachers.  She had mentioned playing the game at one time, so I commented that I'd love to connect.  We messaged back and forth a few times on Facebook about the format we wanted to use. We did a practice call, and set up a day and time.  We also decided on some rules, such as choosing a number between 1-20, and non-verbal signals for yes/no.  Many of our plans were modeled after a blog I had read, so check it out for more information!

Mrs. Lane and her class are in Ohio.  She asked if it would be OK if another class joined in on her end.  Of course not!  I invited my colleague, too, in hopes that the two of them would like to connect with each other in the future.  I'll do anything I can do to foster and encourage the use of technology in kindergarten.  :)  I also invited our Innovation Specialist to join the fun and see our Skype call in action.

Before Mrs. Lane called us on Thursday, we had been practicing how to ask good questions to help eliminate more numbers to make a good guess.  We prepared a number chart on our iPads that we could mark up in DoodleBuddy.  This activity also served as an assessment for writing numbers.  😊 Every time we asked a question, we'd cross off numbers we knew couldn't be the mystery number.

Questions we practiced were along the lines of: 
  • Is your number in the teens?
  • Does your number have a ___?
  • Is your number higher/lower than ____?
  • Is your number between ___ and ___?
  • Does your number have a curve? (this was a fun question!)

When our special call came, we were so excited to "meet" our new kindergarten friends in Ohio.  We asked them a few questions about their school (how many kids in class, what's the weather like, do you have iPads, what else are you going to learn today?), and they asked us some similar questions, too.  Then we got started with our game.

Mrs. Lane's class guessed our number first.  Our number was 16, and her students asked about 6 questions and had it figured out after marking their number charts!  Next was our turn.  We left a little pathway for those asking questions to come forward and be seen and heard by the webcam.  I think we asked about 6 or 7 questions, too.  One funny question was "Is it between 2?".....ummm, between 2 and what other number?  Hahaha kids are funny.  I guess he knew "between" was supposed to be a good question word to use.  We'll get better!

The whole experience was just fantastic!  All the kids were engaged, and it was great practice for problem solving and number sense.  We had a really good Skype connection, too, thankfully! Kids were so interested in how the other students could see us, and where Ohio is on a map, so we had a great discussion about those topics, as well.

I am excited to schedule another call with Mrs. Lane, and would love to try the same with other K or 1 classes whenever we can.  As we get closer to the 100th day, I hope to try a larger range of numbers, such as 1-50, then 1-100.  If we ask the right questions, we'll eliminate lots of numbers and figure out the mystery, no problem!  It also might be fun to tally how many questions it takes to figure out the number, and make it a little competition.

If you want to check out more info about Mystery Skype, try these resources: