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monkeydishes

In Transit: How I Use Excess Dice Masters To Help My Students - #1

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The school year is finally over for the summer. For most of you that means very little. Work goes on as planned and except for the occasional weekend trip or vacation, summer break is just a thing of the past. But, for those of us in the field of education, summer break means a time to recharge our batteries, reflect on the previous school year and plan ahead for the next school year.

I wanted to take a little time this summer break and reflect about how I exactly was able to incorporate a Dice Masters program into my school.

A little bit of an introduction. My name is Eric and I am a school social worker in the suburbs of Chicago. A school social worker is kind of like a counselor or therapist in the school setting, but with a focus on helping students develop social and coping skills. My school is a little different than the normal school a social worker would work at. I work at a school for students with emotional and behavioral concerns. It's not outside the realm of possibilities for me to be screamed at, swore at, hit, kicked or threatened on an average day. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

A difficult thing for some of my students is finding motivation. Food has traditionally been an excellent motivator. If you work in schools or have kids you know of the problems with giving students food inside schools. Due to increased awareness of allergies and different dietary restrictions, gone are the days of kids getting the occasional Snickers or Jolly Rancher for doing well on a test. This isn't a big deal for most schools, but when you work with students with emotional and behavioral concerns, candy used to be an awesome motivator for positive behavior. Finding a cost effective replacement motivator that most of my students will engage in is a difficult process.

Enter the beneficial problem Dice Masters brought. About a year and a half ago, I started playing Dice Masters. Like many of you I got sucked into the game. I opened pack after pack looking for that super rare or collecting that coveted fourth (or fifth) dice for a character. I bought gravity feeds, starter sets and collector sets. I regularly played against family and friends, and loved the idea of building these hodge podge teams with different themes or restrictions. It wasn't long before I found my local FLGS and started participating in organized events.

My store has its own atmosphere just like everyone else other store. Luckily for my personality, this atmosphere is extremely casual. We rarely play constructed events and we spend more time joking around than actually playing the game. Needless to say Rainbow drafts provide the best challenge for our atmosphere, since this format allows for us all to be on as level a playing field as possible and teach new people how to play. So, about three times a month I happily draft from the current set or a classic, and have a great night of playing Dice Masters with some awesome people.

If you collect and draft regularly you know the problem it creates. For each pack you open that has that Tsarina or Zombie Magneto, you have 89 other packs that have common Vixens and your thirtieth Mystique card/dice. This is a problem with collectable card games. In order to get gold you have to wade through the crap. The problem is, what do you do with all of this extra product? Many of us have tried to sell or trade it, but most people have the same excess. You might use these dice/cards to encourage a new friend to play the game. Maybe you are creating an art project out of those hundreds of basically useless dice. But, most of us have a bin in our closets filled with extra cards and dice that seem to valuable to throw away.

After a few months of collecting, I had hundreds of extra cards and dice that I was doing nothing with. I quickly realized that other players had the same abundance of product. After talking to a few students about the latest superhero movie that was coming out last summer, I brought up Dice Masters and found out that a few students were interested in the game. I was able to put two and two together, fast forward to a year later and Dice Masters was one of most successful incentive programs I have ever seen. My school saw an increase in positive behaviors and I was able to use this product as a way to teach all sorts of social skills. My students are proud of their teams they have created, take amazing care of their collections, and I have seen some incredible social interaction between students when they play this game.

I thought I would use this platform as a way to discuss some of the benefits of having a Dice Masters incentive program in a school, and some of the hurdles I have had to jump over as well. Over the summer I will post different blog entries about different lessons I have learned in case anyone is interested.

I hope you enjoy a great summer, whether you are playing dice or not.

Thanks,
Eric

P.S. If you are one of those people with a ton of product you don't know what to do with, feel free to message me. I'd be more than willing to put your donation to good use.
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Comments

  1. Bankholdup's Avatar
    Oh man. One of your buddies was telling me about you at the most recent WKO in Chicago. Awesome thing you are doing. I've got a bunch of stuff you can have. Where are you guys? Lockport or something?
  2. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
    Mate, what a tremendous story - I really enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing.

    This is really fascinating and The nerd in me would love to know more - for what reason do you think it has had such an impact? How do you use it to teach social behaviours? Are there risks around disputes or the emotional impact upon bad losers?

    PS - I do a lot of work in my professional life in learning & development and subjects like the gamification of learning and motivation/commitment/ incentive are topics I'm super interested in.
  3. monkeydishes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bankholdup
    Oh man. One of your buddies was telling me about you at the most recent WKO in Chicago. Awesome thing you are doing. I've got a bunch of stuff you can have. Where are you guys? Lockport or something?
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    My local store is Amazing Fantasy in Frankfort. If you want to private message me when can meet up or I may be going to a future WKO.
  4. monkeydishes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TrueMisterSix
    Mate, what a tremendous story - I really enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing.

    This is really fascinating and The nerd in me would love to know more - for what reason do you think it has had such an impact? How do you use it to teach social behaviours? Are there risks around disputes or the emotional impact upon bad losers?

    PS - I do a lot of work in my professional life in learning & development and subjects like the gamification of learning and motivation/commitment/ incentive are topics I'm super interested in.
    Thanks for the kind words. I will be posting over the upcoming months about some of my observations. I will definitely be posting about how I had to modify the game and some of the social skills we were able to teach through this game.

    I have found a lot of benefit in using games, especially more designer board games, to teach social skills.
  5. pk2317's Avatar
    I cannot wait to read more about this! Awesome idea and great thing to do.
  6. IsaacBV's Avatar
    looking forward to this series!
  7. Sagi's Avatar
    As an educator, we are always looking for ways to get kids interested. I want to applaud you for all the work that you are doing. Thank you.
  8. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by monkeydishes
    Thanks for the kind words. I will be posting over the upcoming months about some of my observations. I will definitely be posting about how I had to modify the game and some of the social skills we were able to teach through this game.

    I have found a lot of benefit in using games, especially more designer board games, to teach social skills.
    Brill. I look forward to your future posts.

    Guaranteed reader here...