Some highlights from the hack jam:

  • We laughed enough to make our neighbor come close our door.
  • Two groups danced, and one of those groups also added a construction paper dance floor to the game board for the little figures.
  • One group moved from figuring out how to compete to figuring out how to work together.
  • People balanced beetle-monster statues on their heads.
  • One group made bracelets and rings - the meanings of which were kept secret from me.
  • For the second hack jam in a row, the Star Wars board wound up having hyper bridges between squares.

Hyper bridges!

More significantly, perhaps, the entire group did a great job discussing the hack jam in relation to teaching, learning, writing, and making. We came away with profoundly compelling questions about what we should do with our time, what we are asked to do with our time, and what is best for kids. What should the system change? What do we need to change about our practice? How do we balance the lessons and codes we feel we must teach to all of our kids in order to give them the best shot at leading successful and fulfilling lives?

I felt humbled to be included in the conversation; I tried to facilitate it without steering it. The honesty, vulnerability, and support shared between teachers wondering what technology and making mean to writing, teaching, learning, and schools seemed brave and true and right. The questions and responses shared between participants seemed like inviting paths into more inquiry, learning, and new practice. 

I think in schools we forget that play can lead to serious, rigorous, passionate learning because we assume that the best way to get rigor is to begin with seriousness.

I look forward to more conversations with this cohort about how hacking, making, and play can help us each find a way into thinking, talking, teaching, and learning more about ourselves, about writing, and about our students as writers.


Rules from a great game that went from figuring out how to compete to figuring out how to build together:

CVWP 2012 Summer Institute Table 4

Game Title: The Community Build

Set Up Game:

  • Put 10 sticks at brown, 10 at orange, 10 at green
  • Put 10 pipe cleaners on blue, 10 on light blue


How to Play:

  1. The person right of the designer goes first. All players start at GO.
  1. Set the timer for 30 minutes.  Play until you hear the bell.
  1. Roll the dice - go as many spaces – either direction.  When you land on that space:

If you land on CHANCE choose any item to add to The Community Build

When you land on a property select the item that corresponds with that color.  See “Game Set-Up.” Then look at the great value and select that number of items to add to The Community Build.

Any property that is non-color , you must remove the greatest value of items from The Community Build.

If you land on COMMUNITY CHEST, roll again

If you land on JUST VISITING JAIL – everyone has to go too.


From Table 3’s hacked game of Monopoly:

CVWP 2012 Summer Institute - Table 3

Start in jail.

Roll dice - subtract big number from small.

Move to your left.

If you get the evil eye than everyone goes back to to jail  and take place that is the furthest along (eye of the law).

Roll complement person to left.

Roll but bead on bracelet.

On community chest take a cookie or a cherry.

Roll less that 3 get to take a bid bead.

Land on the railroad; take a card and do what it says.

Get doubles, do a dance.

When one person does the dance, we all do it.

Land on the luxury tax you make a play-doh ring, and it goes in the middle, and you can buy it back later.

The person furthest away from the Eye of the Law goes to jail and you take their place.

If you land on chance spot (question mark) you have to put all your beads back.

Choose to multiply or subtract your dice.

If you land on your own property, you do not have of dance, but others have to do all of the dances.

If you send someone back to jail, get a diamond ring.

If you get a double dance you can wipe the dance routine over and start a new choreography.

Community chest now gives three beads & a cookie or a cherry.

CVWP 2012 Summer Institute Hack Jam - Table 2
Game objective: Get the most balls/coins to win.

1. First player holds one of each of the 6 color pompoms in their closed hand.
That person says a color to the team then the person to the left chooses the color  from his/her open hand and if the gumball is chosen correctly he/she gets to go anywhere on the board. If not he/she loses her turn.

$5=$100 dollars

2. We are taking turns counterclockwise.

3. Each of us represents a color in the palm of the hand

Now each person has a playing piece.

4. Open the playdough and make 12 balls. The balls are more valuable than money. If the person whose turn it is guesses correctly then he/she gets to steal one ball from any player.

5. Rule Change.

Now moving will be based on each color representing the number of spaces moved.

Yellow=1 now 11
Orange=2 now 12
Pink=3 now 13
Green=4 now 14
Blue=5 now 15
Purple=6 now 16

6. The place you move into turns into a sand pit and the next person that lands on it will lose a ball to that player.

7. When a person lands on a sand pit he/she will lose 3 balls.

8. Anytime anyone in the room laughs the person whose turn it is has to choose someone to play rock, paper, scissors with that person and whoever wins gets a gold coin. When the gold coins are gone then you get to steal a gold coin from someone.

9. When you lose rock, paper, scissors you have to balance the beetle statue on your head for 5 seconds without dropping it.

10. If you lose rock,paper scissors you have to balance the beetle statue on your head until someone else loses the game of rock, paper, scissors.

11.  Each gold coin is worth 10 balls.

Here are the rules from Table 1’s game of hacked Monopoly.

CVWP 2012 SI Table 1

New Monopoly Rules:

Roll both die, start at go and move the number of spaces that you roll on the dice.

If you land on the emperial logo then you build something out of playdoh. If the rest of the group can guess it, you get $500 and the person who guesses would also get $500.

If you don’t roll over a 3, you have to walk around the room like a chicken.

After you land, you can use the tape to make a slide but it has to be a straight line. Others can use any slide.

If you roll an even number, put a circle around your player creating a hyperspace so you can go to any space.

No matter what your roll, you can move 3 times that much, 2 times that much or that much.

The object of the game is to pay the power ranger to leave our planet alone. We have to collect enough money to pay the power ranger to keep our planet safe.
We can get money by landing on the Rebel Alliance symbol and pick a pom pom. If you can flick it into the correct color ring you get $500. You get 3 tries. If you get it into another color ring you get $100.

You can’t build a slide to Emperial Logo or Rebel Alliance

If you land on Go To Jail you have to put $500 on the sheet of paper. If you do not have $500 you owe it as soon as you get it.

If you land on Go or Pass Go collect $200. You can not ring or slide directly to Go.

Space Auction- the most money wins the statue at the end.

The buildings are banks. You can get loans. Choose a card with your eyes closed. If you pick blue you get $1000 orange gets $500. If you land on indigo, purple, blue or red. And you get a pink pom pom.

You can use the pink pom poms to flick. If you hit someone the person you hit has to pay $500.

If you ever have a fine and you can’t pay it or you don’t want to pay it, then you can move the statue to the paper and dance to avoid the fine.

If you roll a three or under and you don’t want to walk around the room like a chicken, you can hire another player to do it for you.

The dance has to be a partner dance and you have to dance in the square. You must dance 10 seconds.

If when you flick, you hit the power ranger then for sure the person of your choice and Vick have to dance!

No slides to money spaces. No circles to teleport to money making spaces. You can’t use any special moves to move to money- making spaces.


Here are a variety of resources gathered around the idea of writing as composition as making something - a text, a game, a course, a movement, a thing, a school.

- DML 2012 Ignite Talks by Ben ChunTessa Joseph-NicholasPeter Kittle (NWP), Chris Lawrence, & Nishant Shah
- NWP’s Digital Is
Center for Make/Hack/Play (w/ Bud Hunt, NWP Teacher)

Wow! What an unusual project. I love it! The idea of taking html code and changing it for projects with kids is so cool.



We hacked Lord of the Rings Monopoly and changed it to Land of Writer’s:

·         Instead of “jail” it’s “Published- collect $500 and a visit with Oprah for her book club”

·         Instead of “Go to jail” it’s “Win the Newberry”

o   either of these ends the game and everyone returns to “Go” to start again

·         If you get the symbol on the dice- you lose a turn

·         land on People = add a new character in the story

·         land on Horses = someone in the story has to travel somewhere

·         land on Events= change or add events in the story

·         You can move whichever direction around the board you want

·         Make up a collective story as you go and change it as you land on things

·         You can double the dice score if you want

·         When you land on a space, you can use the word or the picture to add to the story


I see helping students take risks in writing as one of my key teaching goals — so in a sense, all writing is hacking, as in questioning, finding alternatives to, undermining standardized and templated forms of expression, and also knowing when those forms are useful and employing them knowingly and thoughtfully.


At the WIDE-EMU Un-Conference, Andrea Zellner introduced us to Hackasuarus and the idea that we can remix websites as a form of digital writing and expression. So, given the very limited time that we had, I wanted to try to make something that was a political commentary. This was an interesting digital writing process, as I had to quickly learn how to use the Hackasaurus “X-Ray Goggles" then identify a website that I wanted to critique, find alternative images to place in that website (alternate logo and alternate ad) and use a photo editing service to hack together two sections of the image (to remove a banner ad) before posting to Flickr. 

That’s a heck of a lot to do in just 15 minutes, and it raises questions about what we are able (and should do) with students in our writing classrooms, but here is my final image:

Fox New Hack Jam

Quite a neat idea, and one that I need to consider as I think about teaching ENG 201 next semester…

Post created by Troy Hicks

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