Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some Word Games to Play...They WILL play them!

This afternoon has been rainy...not the pitter, patter, it's-not-so-bad-we-can-still-go-out rain...POURING BUCKETS rain.

So here we were, stuck inside. The boys had the three neighbor boys over (6th grade, 4th grade, and 3rd grade), and I have banished the Wii for reasons any mom of boys understands.

After making the usual boy mess, and making a myriad of Lego creations, they were getting "bored." When they wandered down for a snack, I took the opportunity to try out some new word games I had been reading about.

Guess what? They were captivated for over an hour with me!

First we played categories. There is an actual board game called Scattegories you could buy, but I just used my head and a scrap piece of paper. I didn't make them write for this game, although that could be another level. We just shouted out answers together like a team. I thought of a category, say "food", or "sports", "animals", "transportation," "movie stars," "furniture", "things that are red" (do one category at a time -- additional categories are different rounds) and listed about 8-10 letters on the paper (I used a, t, s, r, p, f, g, w, and o). You can use any letters, and more or less depending on your child's age. They had to think of an item that fit the category that started with that letter. They had a blast.

After that, we played a form of crosswords. I wrote a word down, and they had to think of a high frequency word (common words they need to know how to spell, write, and say automatically) that started with the letters in the word. For example,

F from
A also
M mother
I inside
L look
Y young

This is great practice for some kids...I have third graders come in spelling who for how...they do need to know these words instantly. You can usually get a list of high frequency words from your district's website in their language arts/reading curriculum section. If not, google FRY'S high frequency list and that is a great one.

Finally we played the game I had talked about in an earlier blog...I gave them the word "ELEPHANT" and they had to make words off of it. I helped the 3rd grader and we made 20 words...I didn't whisper either, so the others were hearing me brainstorm with him, so they benefitted from our discussion. I taught him to look for patterns first - ap, an, at, et, en, al...and put other letters in front to form words. Then I taught him to put the silent e on the end and see how it changes the word. It was cool to see him involved. He's the more reluctant/struggler, so that was fun.

Here's another one...finish the compound word. Give them the first part - sea, wind, house, fire, snow, night, etc...and have them finish them...seahorse, seashore, seagull, seaport...fireman, firehouse, fireplug...nightshirt, nightlight, nightowl, nightgown...those work with older kids.

Try them...you will be surprised at how involved they get!

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