Best Language Learning Games: Part 3 of 5

Full size imageA Guest Post by Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson is the CEO of online English training company TalktoCanada.com that teaches English online to students around the world.  During his free time he likes to read, travel, and enjoy life. 

 

This article features a language game using lettered dice called Throw It – Create It. Last week, a language game similar to Smart Mouth was shared. The game Scrambleword was featured previously in Part 1 of 5 as one of my top best learning games for ELL students. Here’s how you play Throw It – Create It:

Throw It – Create It


How to Play

Throw It – Create It is similar to Boggle. It uses 16 letter cubes that are placed in a covered jar. One player shakes the jar and pours out the letters into a small box lid that is approximately 4 by 4 inches.

Anderson_ThrowIt-Create-ItThe player arranges the letter cubes so none of them are overlapping and sets the box down so everyone can see; the letter cubes should form a grid that is four die by four die. Players search for an assortment of letters for words of three or more letters within a specified time limit.

Words are formed from horizontal, vertical, or diagonal; and to the left, right, and up, and down. To spell words, the letter cubes must be touching from one cube to the next cube.

No letter may be used more than once in a single word. Any word found in a standard English dictionary is acceptable. There are no proper nouns, abbreviations or contractions.

When the time runs out, the players read their lists; if any other players have that word, it is crossed off and no one gets credit for it. You are awarded points for each word that is correctly spelled that no other player has listed. Points can be decided on ahead of time by the students. You might want to have 1 point for three-letter words, 2 points for four-letter words, etc., up to 8 or more letters. The cube “QU” counts for 2 letters.

Materials Needed

  1. 16 blank cubes and a permanent marker or other cubes (see #1 below and white stickers)
  2. One small jar with lid
  3. One small box lid (4 by 4 inches)
  4. Paper and pencils for students
  5. Clock or timer
  6. Dictionary to check spelling

How to Make the Game

  • You can use dice from other games, make wooden dice, or purchase dice either at a learning store or online. If you need to cover up what’s on the old dice, use white stickers and then write the letters in permanent marker.
  • Write one letter on each side of the die. There is room for 96 letters. Mix the letters up on the die. You will have:
    • 5 each: A, E, I, O, U, R, S, T, L, N
    • 4 each: B, C, D, F, G, H, M, P
    • 2 each: J, K, V, W, X, Y
    • 1 each: QU, Z

Variations

  • Adjusting points: You can play for totals each round, play to reach a tournament score of so many points, or play for a certain length of time.
  • Adjusting time: You can choose the length of your rounds based on the proficiency of your students; advanced students might do well with only 2 minutes, while lower-level students might benefit from longer periods of time.
  • Adjusting your letters: For lower-level students, you can, when creating the game, change the frequency of the letters you choose to put on the dice. For example, you can provide more vowels in exchange for some of the less-frequent letters, like W, X, or Y.

I hope your students enjoy this game. Can you think of other variations?

Look for Part 4 of my Best of the Best next week!

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