Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hit or Miss... A Game to Play

I love board games. It brings me great JOY to get my students excited about a new game too!

Recently I discovered a game called "Hit or Miss" and I think it has great potential for use in the classroom (or played as a family!)

I find this game particularly useful for my friends who are English Learners, but I think most kids in fifth grade or older would have fun playing.  The game helps students practice language skills and categorization.  It looks like this...

You can click on the box to link to Amazon, although neither the Gamewright people or Amazon are considered in this review--and I am sure that the game can be found at other places too. Still, this game is already a KEEPER in my room.

You will notice the word "Adult" in the lower left hand corner.  Next to that it says "Ages 10 and up." That had me confused (especially being an adult who often behaves like a ten year old). If you are playing this game with children, you definitely need to take out a few cards, which might, perhaps, start a discussion that you don't want to occur. There are a few cards in particular that I feel are potentially problematic).  In fact, depending on your students, you will need to select some cards and omit some others to have a collection that is appropriate for use with your group. (Frankly, you may choose to discard a few cards altogether. Sometimes I wonder what the game designers were thinking!) After selecting the cards that work for your kids, I think this has the potential to be an educational (and fun) game!

First, I am a big fan of any game that goes back into the box easily.  Just look.  It could earn kudos from Jodi at Clutter-Free Classroom.  Everything has a place.  Plus, for some reason, the kids are completely enamored with the little notepads. (Do you think my own love of office supplies is rubbing off on them?)

The game comes with LOTS of "category" cards.  As I mentioned, you will need to take out some of the cards--for various reasons. A few are inappropriate, and others just won't work for your group, based on prior knowledge (or in my students' situation, the lack thereof).

For example, this group of cards worked well with my sixth graders.

If you are having trouble reading these cards, it is not your eyesight, it is my photography skills. The categories pictured are: Candy brands, Ocean animals, Musical instruments, Things in outer space, Items used by a magician, and Famous superheroes. If you think your students would be able to come up with four or more items in a category, it is a good card to use for your group.

This next group of cards was confusing. (Again, photography not cataracts at work).

The categories here are: Household appliances, Signs of spring, Things done at a wedding reception, Bills people pay every month, Reasons for giving greeting cards and Problems associated with getting old. Each category caused us to put pencils down and talk about the vocabulary associated with the category. The next time we played, one of these categories came up.  The knowing looks and pleased smiles gave me that "Yep! I'm a teacher!" feeling.

This group of cards left my group with blank stares. (CAMERA is getting worse, I think)

The categories here are: Things in a post office, Categories of books in a bookstore, well known statues/monuments, Things in "The Wizard of Oz," Things in a post office, and Tropical places. The benefit is that these cards led to discussions that helped me get to know my kids better.  And, these cards allowed for some on-the-spot discussion.  Talk about teachable moments... Not one of my students in my small group had been in a post office, a bookstore, or a bank, and not one had seen The Wizard of Oz. "Well known statues and monuments" and "Tropical places" were completely unknown to them.

And then my favorite bunch.

This group of cards had us laughing hysterically--so loudly that one of my STUDENTS working in another group asked us to keep our voices down.  It's important that you set ground rules. "Things you do when you are sick" started out tame, but led to some "off color" (colour if your name is Jen) humor, but lots of laughter too.   And, "Things a baby does" caused giggles but, surprisingly, led to a precious discussion including "You have a baby sister too?" and "Don't you hate it when babies do that..."  This is community-building at its best. Best laugh: "Things with wings" was answered with "... Ummm... KFC?"

Truth:  The "Famous Toms" card was meant to elicit names like Tom Cruise, Tom Petty, Tom Jones, Tom Thumb... etc.--not likely to be offered by any sixth graders I know  But when one of my kids said, "Toms? Like the shoes?" I was the one who could NOT stop laughing (Admittedly, I am not always the best role model...)

I found this "left over list" that was still in the box and I am sharing it so you can see a student's thinking... We were just learning how to play and had practiced hitting AND missing the categories.
This is how the game is played:

1) A card is selected.  The timer is turned over. Inevitably someone shouts out "Go."
2) Students rush to write down as many items as possible that fit under that category...
In this case the category was "Ice cream flavors."

3) When time is up ( Inevitably someone shouts out... Time's up!), the person who started the category rolls the dice.  There are three choices: HIT, MISS and JESTER.

4) If the dice lands on "HIT," the goal is to choose a word you are pretty sure everyone included on their list.

In this case, the student decided everyone would write chocolate--and seven out of seven kids did!  That's seven points!

5) If the dice lands on "MISS," the goal is to choose a word on your list that you're pretty sure no one else selected. In this case, the child picked "strawberrie" (heehee), being quite sure no one would pick that flavor. He was surprised when three students HAD included strawberry!  He got four points for those students who had not included it and a look of satisfaction from the three kids who had written strawberry on their lists!

Here's another example.... In another game, the category was "Things in the sky." Most kids wrote: airplanes, helicopters, blimps. hot air balloons, etc... but one savvy student wrote "Moisture." EVERYONE missed that one... and he got points for each miss!

7) If the dice lands on "Jester,"  the player may choose "HIT "or "MISS" with the selection governed by how he/she felt about the category.

8) The "real" scoring is a bit complicated. The player rolling the dice gets points for hits or misses, but the other players can get points too (Here I refer you to the scoring guide, because our playing time is limited and we generally play according to "the easy rules" as described as above).

With a little adjustment (and strategic card selection), I think this could also be a great game to play at home--even with younger kids.

This game doesn't seem to lead to "bad feelings" about who did better, who is smarter, etc. because there are a few different elements in play.  Better still, kids were practicing language AND building community.  That's a big pay-off for a game that comes in a pretty small box.

And I will always vote for any game that leads to fun and laughter!


PS  Lovely, loved friends... I haven't forgotten about your sweet words or your oh-so-appreciated recognition {blushing and feeling VERY humbled}. That topic is on my tomorrow's post-list, but it is definitely on my today's appreciated-list!


  1. I've never heard of this game before but it looks fun! Thanks for sharing :)

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  2. oooo...this game looks great! Thanks for all of the info and pictures (which by the way, were very nice and totally viewable). I would love to play this with my ELL students--thanks so much Kim!

  3. I have never heard of this game either but now I want to play!

    The Crazy Adventures of a University Graduate

  4. Drinking a evening coffee and thinking about ya friend:) That game looks awesome! I love board games too!!! It looks especially good for the ELL kiddos and prob. ESE too!! Thanks for sharing:) You know, you can email me back sometime.........Just kidding!! Huggies!!

    4th Grade Frolics

  5. I have FIXED the problem!! I still couldn't resignup(is that a word)for some reason so I decided to use another email address this time since I have a personal one and a school one!!!!! Now I can keep up with you!!!! Thanks for thinking about me during the ALWAYS A TORNADO IN ALABAMA time! :)


  6. I LOVE board games!!!!! I have a huge collection in my classroom and we play them after the dreadful state test! I own Hit or Miss but never actually played it.
    ow I'm excited to try it out.I happen to think you are a giftet photographer!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  7. This game sounds AWESOME... I am definitely going to add it to my shopping list! :)

  8. Just played it tonight for the first time (let everyone else win :) = I had the lowest score), but LOVED it. It's simple, yet needs knowledge, but not totally, because it also depends on luck. I'm so going to try this with my 7th, 8th and 9th graders :)


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