I have said it before, and I'll say it again- learning can be fun and sometimes a little thing can make a big difference. Scrabble tiles are little things, but when we use them to engage our minds to learning they become big things.
From my preschool classes to upper elementary, a tub of letter tiles gave ordinary phonics, writing, and spelling a new groove.Over and over again these tiles came off the shelve to liven up a lesson. Let me share a few:
... sort out letters you know the names and sounds of
... sort vowels from consonants
... pick a letter tile, how many words can you think of that start with that sound/contain that sound
... make word blends/special sounds
... build words you know
... spell words you are trying to learn
... make a "puzzle" using your spelling words
The list goes on; limited only by imagination. We always made a game of such things- sitting in a circle on the floor we would pass the tub and choose tiles or let someone come to the tub and draw a tile. Small children seemed to love sharing what they knew where the older ones enjoy a challenge.
When one of my teens was struggling to learn the parts of speech, I used the tiles. On slips of paper I wrote the parts of speech and placed them in a bowl. They drew a paper and used tiles to "write" a word that fit the part of speech they drew. Just another way to break up a day and make learning interactive and fun.
These days those Scrabble tiles (and now Bananagrams) are in their box, used as they were created: to play the games. Every time the games come out the conversation turns to days when we used them for different lessons in our classroom. Lovingly they tease about "giant" spelling list puzzles and "round-robin" word competitions. Laughter fills us and bittersweet sadness comes as we realize just how much we've grown. Such memories live on when my girls babysit for others and pull out simple objects to make a lesson fun; memories of educating with a common box of Scrabble tiles.