Emoji Bingo!

I created these BINGO cards to teach my daughter coordinates (in the context of columns and rows rather than x and y axes). Unlike Geography BINGO, where we use coins to combine money math with state “geometry,” for Coordinates BINGO, we use Bananagrams. Whenever I call a “coordinate” (C#, R#), she places a Bananagram tile facedown. Once she gets a BINGO, we flip all the tiles over, which she uses to create as many words as possible. (I usually let her get BINGO at the 11th or 12th tile). Canva is an excellent homeschooling graphic design program for those who prefer (and need) to create their child’s curriculum. My daughter loves emojis, so she enjoyed helping me create these cards.

Wording our way through homeschooling

I refer to Bananagrams as “Freestyle Scrabble.” The object of most games is to win, but this one is to learn. I love Bananagrams because we’re not spending time calculating scores (not that that wouldn’t be a totally righteous mathy thing to do) but learning words—not just how to spell them but their meanings, definitions, and, if needed, what they look like. We flip an old gameboard (we have a Life gameboard that split), draw seven tiles apiece, and play Bananagrams just like Scrabble, with my tablet on standby if we need to look up a word. If we need to look something up, we go to Dictionary.com (yeah, it’s the Wikipedia of dictionaries, but I like the fun format) and use the speaker to listen to the word. The other evening, I spelled “harp,” so I not only googled an image of one but found a YouTube video to watch and listen to one being played.

Though we only do 16 words, it’s pretty involved. Bananagrams has been a great way to teach prefixes and suffixes and how just adding an e to the end of a word changes its meaning. I also just added a sign language component.

Years ago, when I still lived at home, my dad and I played Scrabble on a CD-ROM. We didn’t like keeping score or looking things up in a paper dictionary (we just wanted to play!). He hardly ever won, took forever (I once read a whole novel during his turns), was totally obsessed over landing on the triple word score squares, and always accused me of “piggybacking” off his words (i.e., scoring more off his words than he did). I’d get annoyed that he never cared what a word meant (so long it was a word) and forced him to listen to me read the definition. Mom used to play with us, but she didn’t have the patience to sit through his turns. I mean, it wasn’t chess!

Winning (for me) was harder when my mom played because she never played defensively (which was also annoying). But, I enjoyed these times with my parents immensely, and that is what I will have with my daughters. How ironic it is that what I used to play on a screen, I am playing the old school way 20 years later.

Micropoetry Monday: Opposites


The Shutterfly edition

He was chess,
she, checkers.
He was Ivy League,
she, bowling league.
While the former appreciated her
like a museum exhibit—
a look-see into a ferly world—
the latter saw him not so much
as out of her league,
but as her way out
of the bowling league.

She spent her life writing her memoirs,
he, painting self-portraits.

They were 2 of a kind,
for she saw her readers
as wanting to be her friend
or live a life like hers,
even as he saw his viewers
as either wanting to look like him
or wanting someone who looked like him.

He was a blacksmith,
she, a wordsmith.
The objects he crafted,
people had to hold in their hands,
but the words she created
could be held in their hearts

Micropoetry Monday: Opposites


The Shutterfly edition

Bubba was checkers on the front porch,
Barron, chess in the parlor.
For the former,
the kings ruled the board,
the latter,
the queens,
but for 99-year-old Smithy Norville,
anyone who could move backwards,
or diagonally
had the all power,
for they could cut a rug
like Fred & Ginger.

He was the king of mugshots,
she, the queen of Glamour Shots.
She helped him make love to the courtroom cameras,
even as he taught her how to BOLO for Bertha,
who fancied herself as Bubba’s main squeeze.
His photos ended up on his momma’s fridge,
even as her gilt-framed portraits ended up over her father’s fireplace,
illuminated by candles on the mantle,
which explained why Lefty Shakes & Merlynne Munroe were
the way they were.

She was the Countess of Persiflage,
he, the Earl of Earnestness.
She was as funny
as he was funny-looking,
& they made a living off each other—
with her making fun of him
& he,
making her life less fun
with his habitual heckling.

A Life of Games


When she played “Old Maid,”
she realized that no one wanted to be one,
yet never questioned why
there was never an “Old Bachelor” game.

When she played “Perfection,”
she realized that speed and accuracy
was the winning combination to more than games.

When she played “Operation,”
she knew the world would be better off
if she wasn’t a surgeon.

When she played “Checkers,”
she realized that once she mastered something,
she lost interest in it.

When she played “Clue,”
she realized how much she loved
figuring things out.

When she played “Scrabble,”
she realized that dictionaries were friends
to the right people.

But when she played video games,
she realized how much she hated them.

For the Non-Gamer

She watched “Wheel of Fortune” to make herself feel smart,
“Jeopardy” to humble herself,
& “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” to realize that anyone
could be one.

For board game lovers:  https://sarahleastories.com/2017/12/04/mondays-will-be-different-sweet-little-nothings/

For “Wheel of Fortune” lovers:  https://sarahleastories.com/2015/09/02/writers-digest-wednesday-poetry-prompt-321-theme-gripe/

For “Clue” lovers (or “Cluedo,” as its known in the United Kingdom):  https://sarahleastories.com/2015/05/01/poem-a-day-writers-digest-challenge-30-theme-bury-the-blank/

Revive the art of conversation

I’d never heard of “found poetry” until I took a college-level poetry class.

I began finding (if not looking for) poetry in unlikely places. Being a dark chocolate lover, I noticed the cute little sayings inside the Dove candy wrapper foils and thought, I could do something with these, so I began posting these short poems on Instagram.

It was perfect. I already had the graphic—I just had to provide the text.

Revive the art of conversation