Tag Archives: literacies

Literacies Gaming

I (Cathy), my family, and friends have been playing many different kinds of ‘party’ games as of late . Some have boards, in some you create the board as you play, and with others there are just cards. One of my favorites is a game called Codenames.


This game intrigues me because it is similar to coding data in a study as it’s about making associations between words, categorizing, and/or generalizing. (There is a narrative component to the game where everyone is considered a spy, but we just ignore all that). It can be played in teams or individually.

In this game many word cards are laid out in a grid across the table (25). One person is designated the clue giver and gives his/her team (or other person) a word and a number. The clue word might be ‘flight’ and the number might be ‘2’. The team then has to identify two words in the word grid they think are associated with flight. The challenge for the clue giver is they may not pick just any words they want in the grid to associate. They may only use certain assigned words and sometimes it is very difficult to make associations. The challenge for the team is, if they pick the wrong word, the point goes to the opposition.

Let’s have a trial run… Your clue is ‘weapons, 2”


If you guessed pistol and missile, you just won two points for your team. Let’s try one more, but a little bit more challenging this time! Your clue is ‘Olympics, 3’

third try

If you guessed Bolt, Greece, and Beijing, you earned another three points. (If this is mystifying to you, Usain Bolt set the world record for the 100 m dash at the Beijing Olympics, and Greece is the birth place of the Olympics).

This is a wonderful means of exploring word meanings and associations. It is also interesting how so many words can be both verbs and nouns, or connected as possible compound words, or have special meaning depending on culture and context. (Knowing your teammates well also helps, as I find I can understand my husband’s clues better than other people can). On many levels it is a great pass time with friends and also a great language game for the classroom. It is also, on many levels, literacies in action!



Spoken Word: Life, Literacy and Communications

I (Yiola)  remember watching the news  in the mid ’80s and listening to the news anchors describe the possibilities and implications of the internet.  I had no idea of the magnitude of change this new form of literacy would bring. Could anyone really imagine the changes we would experience in our daily interactions?  Online communication, information sharing, cellular technology and social media have completely changed the way we operate in the world today.

I came across this interesting link — a spoken word (poem) — about the impact new literacies  has on our lives.

The message I find most powerful is the irony that social media connects us  and yet in some ways we have never been more isolated or at a loss for opportunity… community companionship a sense of inclusion yet when you step away from this device of delusion… you awaken to see a world of confusion… 

From an educator and parents point of view the poem’s message that struck a cord: We’re surrounded by children who since they were born, watched us living like robots and think its the norm.  What is our cultural norm? Compared to pre-online technology are we behaving like robots?

I tend to agree with much of what the poet shares and enjoyed this spoken word. I hope you enjoy it too.