So, there we were today, playing a simple spelling game. I was at the back table playing with two little boys who got a big kick out of me playing the game with them, "even though you know how to spell all the words because you're a teacher". I took my time saying each letter when I would get my word as they followed along on their spelling sheet to make sure I was correct. They chuckled as I put on a serious spelling face and sounded out and spelled a word.
"You're a really good speller," one complimented me while the other shook his head.
"Well, I should hope so," I replied. "Besides, I've had several years in 3rd grade to practice!"
A little girl approached. She had been playing with a boy on the back carpet. She watched us for a minute and then poked my arm lightly.
"Can I ask you a question?" she started.
"Mmm... hmmmm..." I murmured, as I intently watched one of the boys roll a die using just one finger.
"Well, [boy's name] just rolled for his turn and he landed on the 'miss a turn' space so he spelled the word incorrectly so he could go back and not have to miss a turn," she notified me all in one breath. With a very incredulous look on her face.
When I didn't respond, she poked me gently again. "Well. Is that fair? Can he do that?"
During any game time in the classroom, I am always the official referee. The only thing missing is the zebra striped shirt and a whistle. The kids always accept whatever call I make when they ask me like I'm some all-knowing rules/games person.
I gazed across the room at the 'miss a turn' boy who had a proud smile on his face. I saw his smile and raised him a thumbs up. The girl frowned.
"I wouldn't call that cheating. I would call that strategizing," I said, in fact, impressed with the boy's thinking. "Haven't you ever watched a basketball game that has two minutes on the clock and lasts for another thirty-five minutes because the teams are strategizing and calling time-outs and stuff?" I added.
With that she shrugged and walked back to her game. I saw her quietly whispering to him, no doubt relaying my critique and ruling on the move. They seemed satisfied as they continued playing.
"I want to stragize too," one of the boys at the table with me exclaimed.
"Well, then, go for it!" I encouraged him. "Game on!"
Sometimes you don't have to break the rules. You just have to bend them a little.
If you don't believe me, just ask George W. Bush:
Saturday Night Live: George W. Bush