Fridays in our Intermediate Algebra classes have traditionally been “Friday Fun”: the kids who are all caught up on their work play some kind of math game while the others get caught up. 

This year, though, as we would plan for the week ahead, my co-teacher and I kept saying, “I don’t think they’re ready for a game yet.”

Games can take it all out of you, let me tell you. My teacher friends know exactly what I’m talking about. Solidarity, sisters and brothers. 

I decided today I would try a game with them. We played Coordinate Battleship. 

“How many of you have never played Battleship before?”

Half the hands go up. 

I try not to project my own childhood onto my kids too much. But I can’t help but be a little sad that so many have never even heard of Battleship. Not that I think it’s some incredible game, by any means, but I wonder if my kids play games at home with their siblings…or if they have too many other responsibilities…

In both hours, it took a good 15-20 minutes just to get the kids to understand how to place their ships and what the objective of the game was. But once we got going, it actually went great. (Hallelujah.)

About five minutes before the bell, I told the kids to start wrapping up. I walked around and passed out candy to each partner who sank the most ships. But, one set of two boys insisted on continuing their game. They played past the bell…and this was the last class of the day. 

I looked at those two boys and just thought, “Is this real life right now? Are they choosing to stay in class?”

It was lovely. 

It was still chaotic. 

But it was lovely. 


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