Clockface Rummy


I had fun making the deck. She's going to use it with the kids in class sometime soon. :-)

by Kelly Robinson

Kelly is a mother of two terrific kidos, one in elementary school and one in preschool. She is a credentialed teacher who is taking time off from teaching to pursue a master's degree in Educational Technology at San Diego State University. She is currently employed as a graduate assistant in the Instructional Media Lab.

Instructional Objective Clockface Rummy will help students have fun while learning to recognize time in three standard formats: the clock face, the digital display, and the text-based or written method of portraying the time. In addition, early readers will learn to recognize and read the words on the cards.


Learners/Context The learners are students ages 6-8, or anyone trying to learn to tell time. It could also be used with older children in an E.S.L. setting. This game was designed specifically for my daughter and her fellow classmates who are learning to tell time in Mrs. Grobarek's 1st grade classroom at Encanto Elementary school.


Rationale One of the skills that early elementary graders need to learn is how to tell time. Before the introduction of the digital clock, telling time was much easier. Because of the ubiquitous nature of digital watches, many students lack the necessary practice required to read a traditional clock face. In addition, students in the first grade are early readers who are beginning to recognize and read sight words. Thirty percent of the cards have words that they can learn to read through repetition.

A card game is useful in this instance for several reasons: (1) Repetition and recognition are important to telling time. Rather than calculating the time when we gaze at a clock, we are recognizing and interpreting the hand placement on the clock. This game will help this recognition process. (2) Children love games, so a card game would be a simple way to encourage them to practice what they are learning. (3) The different formats for telling and recognizing time lend themselves well to the rummy class of games: they are easy to read and graphically display with cards. (4) With cards, learners will begin to make associations and recognize the different times on the clock. And finally, (5) Playing a card game with this content will be more fun (and easier to remember) than practicing telling time with a worksheet. Teachers can use it for instructional punctuation and enrichment: it is easy to store, easy to set up and easy to use.


Why would you want to use Clockface Rummy in your classroom? Because it is fun, instructional and easy to use!

* This game offers players opportunities to interact with one another while learning. Two or more players can participate in this game.

* For students who like competition, it offers the opportunity to compete and for the age group, the appropriate motivational challenge.

* Learners enjoy doing what they are good at. Clockface Rummy offers learners a chance to quickly get into the game and begin making pairs and matches. Once they are successful, and begin to make pairs, they will want to continue playing.

* This game is easy to administer and play. It follows the rules of Rummy.

* This game is educational. It helps to teach children to recognize several ways that the same time can be displayed. It teaches children to tell time, read time words (e.g. eight O'clock), and recognize the time whether it is digitally displayed or traditionally displayed.

* This game can be used as instructional punctuation after or during a unit on time.

* It is easy to set-up, play and clean up. It can be used on the spur-of-the-moment, without a lot of preparation.


Rules Clockface Rummy is played following the basic rules of Rummy. There are several games possible with this deck of cards. Instructions for the variations will follow the basic rules outlined below.

1. First choose a dealer. The dealer should shuffle the cards and deal four or five cards to each player. The dealer should place the remaining cards face down for use as a drawing pile. Then the dealer should turn one card face up to form the discard pile.

2. The players should pick up their cards and arrange any that appear to match together.

3. The first player to the left of the dealer will go first.

4. During their turn, players will first choose either a card from the drawing pile or from the discard pile. They will then look to their hand of cards and determine if the new card matches any cards in their hand. If they do see #5 and #6 below. If there are no matches, they must discard one card from their hand. The next player, to the left, will repeat the same process.

5. Players are looking for "matches," meaning they must find either two or three of a kind to win points. Two points are given for two of a kind matches, (pairs), and three points are given for three of a kind matches, (books).

6. When a player finds a match s/he must place the match face up on the table. If the other players agree that there is indeed a match, the player collects the two or three points. However, if a player puts down a pair any player may win the one remaining point by finding the third card of the match. This may be done at any point during the game.

7. Play continues until one of the players runs out of cards. The winner is the player that has the most points when someone runs out of cards.


Challenge Rules

For extra challenge try these suggestions:

1. Every time a player tries to collect points, they must first look to the real clock in the room and accurately tell the time. If they are correct they can record one extra point on their score sheet.

2. Add Roman Numeral Time Cards and go for matches of two, three and four cards.

3. Increase the number of cards in the hand. This extends the play.

4. Allow students to use the entire discard pile. Players choosing cards below the top level must lay the bottom-most card down in a pair immediately and keep the rest, discarding only one.


Card Design


Deck Design This deck contains ninty-one cards of each type (273 total) listed above as a card front. However, for the audiece recommended above, I would suggest only using the full hours on the clock and removing the rest. Teachers or facilitators should add the additional cards (half hours, quarter hours, and five minute increments) as the players skill and knowledge aquisition improves.


Design Process When I got this assignment, I took a survey of life around me and tried to fill a need. My daughter recently began first grade, so I took a look around her new classroom and talked to her teacher. I noticed several graphic posters of clock faces around the room. They were obviously going to be learning to tell time in this classroom, so I tried to think of a game that would help my daughter and her classmates do this. The design was developed with these first grade learners in mind. I decided to use the rummy format because I think most students will be familiar with it, or could easily learn it . The different formats for telling time, digital (e.g., 3:00), text based (e.g., three o'clock), and clockface (e.g., )all lend themselves well to matching.


Beta Testing #1 After devising the initial idea, I created a few cards out of construction paper and glue. I had my daughter play it with me to try it out on her age group. I noticed two things that needed to change. The first was the size of the cards. I had made them too big for her to easily hold. The second was that I needed to simplify the rules. I was originally allowing her to go below the top card on the discard pile. However, it will probably be easier for students to play if only the top card is available to them, at least at first. This will limit their choices and they can concentrate on the object of the game: making pairs and matches with what they have. We played two games and I was surprised at how well she did with the content. (We have not taught her the words on the cards or to tell time. She was able to figure it out after I told her about the hour hand pointing to the time.) I was encouraged and wanted to make a deck for her teacher to use in class.


Beta Testing #2 The second round of testing was done with a better prototype of the card game. Originally I was creating the clock faces using SuperPaint. Then, in frustration I decided to reduce keystrokes and construct my game using existing flash cards with clock faces on them. I found flashcards with exactly what I needed at Lakeshore. They even had matching blank flash cards so that I could create my own cards to go with the clock faces! This was great! I made the game by gluing a blank card to the back of the cards I needed. (In other words, I used the flashcards but obliterated their answers on the back sides.) This way I had a workable deck of clockface cards (using only the whole hours, twelve o'clock, one o' clock...) with their corresponding text and digital cards. I had my whole family play the game this time and watched how Devin played and learned. I dealt four cards to each player the first time and then tried it with five. The four cards were easier for Devin to manipulate, but five made the game more interesting and last longer. Devin was able to read almost all of the cards by sounding out the beginning letter of the word (She is a beginning reader who hasn't learned to read these words yet). The only place she had trouble was knowing which was twelve and which was two. Otherwise she was able to play and do well. She liked it and wanted to continue playing after we game finished. I decided that the teacher would have to determine how many cards to deal, and whether to make the rules more or less difficult depending upon the students skills at the time.

I think that this game is a success, it can help children recognize the relationships between the different formats of telling time, and it is fun and easy to play. As far as card design goes, it is nice to have the professionally printed clear clockfaces, but the two flashcards glued together make the cards too thick. Since they are so thick they cannot be shuffled, they have to be mixed purposefully. This could make the game less useful if it is hard to manipulate. If I were to do this again I would xerox the clockfaces or create my own so that the cards are the regular thickness.