My daughter’s generation is more inclined to play Words with Friends on their devices, but I still prefer the immediacy and face-to-face engagement of Scrabble. Whatever your preference, these word games are an effective way to activate our learners’ prior knowledge and vocabulary about our class content. Simple to play, familiar to most, and easy to integrate into any course – what more could a trainer ask for?
Here’s my favorite way of doing it:
- Obtain chart-sized graph paper and hang it on the walls around your room.
- Ask everyone to stand by a chart in groups of 4, and then divide into two teams of two.
- Direct participants to write a word, related to your content, in the middle of the chart. For example, if I am teaching a course on presentation skills, I might assign the word “engagement.” If I am teaching a course on communication skills, I might assign the word “communication.” Long words make it easier for participants to get started.
- Each team takes a turn adding a word to the grid, following rules similar to those of Scrabble or Words with Friends, i.e. adjacent letters have to form a new word.
- Let the game progress for a few minutes and then discuss with the large group some of the common words and unusual words you see on the charts.