Teaching Tip Tuesday – Classroom Scrabble

The best board game ever invented, in my humble opinion, is Scrabble.

One of the reasons I like Scrabble is that it challenges the mind and is not merely just a game of chance. I think I also have an affinity for the game since it has always been a big deal in my family. I was introduced to the game as kid and played often with my Grandma, I treasured the time we spent around the board with my mom, dad, and brother. I still play against my mom whenever we get the chance.

I just found this excellent website about using Scrabble in school. http://school.scrabble-assoc.com/index.asp

However, I didn’t know of this excellent resource six years ago when I designed my own Classroom Scrabble Challenge.

I made it by printing out square shapes using MS Word.  I typed out the name of the special squares on the computer and printed them out on coloured paper to match the look of the actual game board.

I then glued all of these squares onto two and a half pieces of bristol board. This board is about three feet square so it is a little too large to fit in the school laminator.  I still managed to laminate it by coating the entire surface with clear shelf paper.

Clear shelf paper is an amazing way to laminate anything for fairly cheap. All you need to do is unroll it over the surface as you drag a ruler or meter stick behind it to flatten out the plastic and stop it from developing any bubbles.

I photocopied the actual letter tiles from my board game and then glued them onto poker chips. I put the chips in a gift bag and labeled it “Pick.” This is the bag that the students draw their tiles from. I then write the letters onto a coloured tile.

I have the students play this game in their squads.  At first I had to coach them quite a bit on how to play and the strategies they should use to score the most points per each turn. But after a few turns, they really seemed to get the hang of it.

We only add one word to the game board every day. I have one squad work at the bulletin board while the rest of the class does their silent reading. Some students like to look at the board in their spare time and plan possible words for their next turn.

I have found this to be a great learning experience for my students. It gets them working in their squad teams and it helps them to learn spelling skills.

The website that I mentioned above gives you great ideas and resources for starting a school Scrabble program. I wished I’d learned of this sooner.

I think I will take advantage of their special offer for schools that allows teacher to buy six game boards. I think playing the partner games they suggest will really help students with word attack and spelling skills. I will do that for sure next year.

I still plan on using this large team board I made as well.

Classroom Scrabble. Try it out.

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6 Comments on Teaching Tip Tuesday – Classroom Scrabble

  1. Love it! Especially because of the Working With Words trend as opposed to traditional spelling, it’s a fantastic idea that ties well to the curriculum. Thanks for sharing! I’ll be borrowing this one next year! 🙂

  2. Hi Kay and Elle,

    It took me about three hours to make this board. Some of the poker chip letter tiles are starting to come apart as well. But I have used this board for a number of years now.

    I think next year, I will just use the regular tiles from the board game instead of the poker chip ones.

    I’m glad you found this post useful. Please check back for more Teaching Tip Tuesdays!

    Thanks!

  3. Hi Chase .. certainly innovative weren't you .. I love Scrabble too.

    They've just had the world championships in Poland .. and a New Zealander won this year .. but last year a chap from Thailand won.

    He couldn't speak English .. but had worked out the high letter counts and only used those mixes of letters … amazing and interesting and an utterly useless bit of information .. but I thought you might be amused!

    Cheers Hilary

  4. Hi Hilary,

    I had the idea to make the board and got started on it right away. I think Scrabble is a great game for the classroom and this hallway display is always popular.

    Scrabble championships are strange. People memorize high point words that no one ever uses in everyday life. I'd rather play with words from my own vocabulary.

    Thanks for strolling back through the Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive and commenting.

    Have a great day!

  5. You could also re-use this board and have students play EQUATE (scrabble with equations). You can make it suit any level, but students build number sentences like 3+2*3=9. Where each number and symbol is a tile. Symbol tiles are free and only the number tiles are drawn and count towards your score. I might try to do this in my math class sometime!

  6. Hi Al,

    What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

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