Ages 7 to 11
Every week, we set children an exciting mini-project as their homework that they are encouraged to do with their parents. Scrabble works particularly well in this context and we often use it at the beginning or end of a topic to assess how much children have understood.
Before Christmas, we asked our nine to 10-year-olds to play Scrabble with somebody else using only words related to the earth and space topic we'd just finished. I gave each of them a piece of A3 large-squared paper with the word EARTH written across the middle. They and the other player had to take it in turns to fill in the "board" with names of planets etc in capitals, distinguishing between their own and the other person's words by using a different colour. They could play with anybody they liked - one played with her grandmother over the phone - and present the finished "board" as they wished.
When they handed in the results, I gave them the real (Scrabble) value of each letter and invited them to choose which squares should be given double and triple word and letter values. They then had to add up the value of each word (showing their working!) and work out who had won.
So they learned science, spelling, maths, how to make moral choices - and had fun Marcelo Staricoff is deputy head of St Batholomew's C of E Primary School in Brighton and co-author of Start Thinking: Daily Starters to Inspire Thinking in Primary Classrooms (Imaginative Minds, Birmingham, 2005)
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