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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