Dominoes & Thinking Collide

“Let’s play dominoes,” I suggested.

We did.

We played three games. I lost all three.

I got a little discouraged. I began to think maybe I needed to switch up my strategy.

I placed my dominoes by common numbers, a lot like when I play cards.


dominoes, my style

My set up – kind of like cards 


We got set up for another game.

“Would you mind showing me how you set up your dominoes?” I asked my game partner.

“Sure,” he replied.

I went around the table and saw he had placed all of his dominoes in sequence, immediately playable once he began to play.


Dominoes, his style

Props to you, ST, Domino champ


This explained why it took him a little longer to be ready for the initial play, but he was able to play and converse easily throughout the game. He knew exactly what his next moves were all the way through the sequence. I had to to consider which domino I was going to play every time it was my turn.

The problem with the way I was playing was that I never knew what I was going to play next. I hadn’t played out the sequence.

My opponent had thought his play all the way down the line. He lined up his dominoes.

Suddenly I began to consider the difference in our thought processes. If one could think down a line in a game such as this, couldn’t one also think down a line in a project?  What about in instruction? How about across a week’s planning? A month? A year? A lifetime?

I’ve gotten better at dominoes since learning to arrange the tiles according to how they  play out. And I’ve gotten better at thinking too.

Often, as we grow up, our ways of thinking become set. It is easier if we follow these well-worn paths of thought. We know how to think by heart. However, dominoes taught me that when we identify someone who has insight we don’t yet have, if we are willing to ask them to share their knowledge, we can grow our own understanding in unforeseen ways.  Even in dominoes.



About Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be You

Principal at the School at the north end of Los Angeles Harbor where AWESOME happens. Working to make the world a little more wonder-full.
This entry was posted in perceptions, self reflection, Small Moment, SOL2016, Story, thoughts, Truths and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dominoes & Thinking Collide

  1. This is so smart, Dayna! Isn’t it amazing how many lessons about teaching there are hiding in our daily life. Thank you for this reminder to be on the lookout for them and to be willing to ask questions.


  2. bbutler627 says:

    It’s been forever since I’ve played dominos! I really like the parallels you’ve drawn here though. Made me think and yes, question. Great slice!


  3. elsie says:

    I put my dominoes in sequence too, however, someone always comes along and plays in the place I need. Grrr! You are right, we do become set in the way we have always done something, but I like to think I’m willing to change my path when I learn a new strategy. “When you know better, you do better.” Right?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s