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TESOL methos of Scratch My Back

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Scratch My Back


The player with the alphabet sheet on his or her back is the “scratcher” and points to various letters with a backscratcher. The rest of the players compete to make a word from the letters being “scratched.”


How to Play One player is designated the “scratcher” and puts the game board on his or her back. The other players sit where they can all see the sheet. Then the scratcher says, “I have an itch” and begins to move the end of the back- scratcher around on the card, bringing it to a stop and saying, “Right there!” The end of the backscratcher should be pointing to a par-

Setup

This gamrequires a game board—a piece of paper with the alphabet scattered upon it. The game board shown can be copied or cre- ate your own. If you make your own board, each letter (uppercase and lowercase written together) should occupy a separate space on the sheet in a random pattern. Common let- ters, such as R, T, N, S, L, and the vowels, should be in larger areas, while uncommon letters, such as V, X, Z, J, and Q, should appear in smaller areas. No area should be smaller than the end of the backscratcher. Once pre- pared, this game board should be laminated and punched with two holes. Attach string so that the board can hang around the player’s neck. Players must have their own paper and pencil.

ticular letter, but if it falls on a line, players can ask for the scratch to be a little higher, lower, to the left, or to the right. Players write the letter on their papers and ask for another scratch.

Letters continue to be “scratched” until one of the players is able to make a word with the selected letters. The first one to write a cor- rectly spelled word wins the round and trades places with the scratcher. Play begins again.

Players can decide on a minimum length for winning words before they begin the game so that extremely short words do not score. Three-letter words might be a reason- able minimum length allowed for a play of this game.

Variations

■ Have younger players call out a word start- ing with the letter that is scratched. The first player to get five correct words would then take the place of the scratcher.

Language Arts Games77


■ Change some of the letters to consonant clusters (th, sh, ch, wh, and so on), prefixes, or suffixes to use a particular language skill.

Tip


Some players might need a judge avail- able to determine if their words are spelled correctly or if their words actually start with the target letters. An adult volunteer or older “buddy” could serve in this role to make the game run more smoothly.


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