Sunday, February 20, 2011

English games are hard!

I like to hang out with my students. I've said it many times before: I enjoy teaching middle school and my students crack me up. One such case was a round of speed Scrabble with my seventh graders the other day.

Speed Scrabble (also called Bananagrams) it meant to be a high speed game where players create their own personal scrabble boards in front of them. ...sorta. There's more to it, but all you need to know for this story's purposes is that players have to know how to spell a wide variety of English words. It's a good game for language learners because they can set their own pace, and it can help them build spelling skills.

I explained the rules and passed out the games (I have a class set) and the girls immediately dove in. If there's one thing I will say for Arab students, it's that they are VERY competitive--even if they don't really understand how the game works.

As I was circling the room, helping kids out, answering questions, explaining how to spell some words, and laughing at this hilarity they were coming up with.

I caught sight of these gems:

  • It was early in the game, so a girl just had three words on her board: fire, inside, her.
  • One girl had the word "mol." When I asked what they word meant she said, "You know! 'mol.' Where you go shopping."
  • One girl had the word breast on her board. "Breast?!" I said. "Yeah, like chicken breast." Whatever you say, kid.
My favorite interaction of the day, however, was when one girl needed to make a word that ended in a "c." (The whole concept of crossing words on one letter was a bit of a stretch for them to understand, so they got stuck on the idea that "if I need to use the letter, the word has to either begin or end with the letter--no two ways about it.")

"Teacher, what is a word that ends in 'c?'" she asked, tapping a Scrabble tile on the desk in thought.

"COCK!" one of her classmates cried out triumphantly. Around the table, heads nodded as if to say, "Oh yeah! Cock! Why didn't I think of that!"

"um, well, that word ends with the 'c' sound, but it's actually spelled with a 'ck.'"



Vicariously yours,

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