Teacher Review For Scrabble

Never knew how few words I knew

Christine T.
Media specialist/librarian
North High School
Sioux City , IA
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My Rating 3
Learning Scores
Engagement 3
Pedagogy 3
Support 4
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned No
I Would Recommend It No
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Individual
Knowledge gain
Small group
Great with Advanced learners
ELL
General
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It

The only way I could justify using Scrabble in the mainstream classroom would be as an enrichment/anchor activity. It just doesn't have enough bang for the buck (especially in a high school classroom). That being said, I could see Scrabble as viable in an ELL elementary classroom where spelling and phonics are practiced.

My Take

My take? I'm always looking for way to engage kids in developing their vocabulary--Scrabble isn't it. Simply put, I have 2 Masters degrees and have been teaching English in high school for over 5 years--I have a fairly large vocabulary. However, when faced with 7 tiles of letters, I most often came up with words like "aid" and "rid". There's a huge difference between knowing the meaning of words/being able to decode meanings with context clues and being able to spell 5 to 7 letter words.

To further my shame, I played with the teacher feature on. Although after my placement of "sad" or "aid", the teacher assured me that my play was "good", I was showed a play that could have garnered more points. The teacher used words like basidia (A microscopic, club-shaped spore-bearing structure produced by certain fungi) and ursid

(which apparently is a meteor shower beginning in March--according to Wikipedia). My vocabulary ego was crushed. Scrabble is probably not the best vocab development tool available. I liked the dictionary function (you could use your tiles and check if you had a word before playing it), and I liked that I could set the game parameters (75 points took a while to accumulate at 8 points a pop). The pass and play feature (with up to 4 players) is engaging--but I didn't get to think on my tiles while the others were playing.Consequently, every time it was my turn, I had to "re-think" my play.

Bottom line--Scrabble is a specialized game; the more obscure 7 letter words you can spell, the better your score. If we could tie that to actually learning the meanings of the obscure words, then it would be an engaging, useful tool.