A friend recently returned from South Africa with a few decks of "Scrabble" cards. The same as the boardgame. Our classes love it.
Push the tables together into the middle and give each student 5 - 7 cards. Let them keep their cards face up so everyone can help them if they are stuck and don't see a word they can make. No need to keep points when they are younger, but the older students like the competition.
For older students I place them into groups of 2 or 3 students. I give each group 8 cards and 2 bonus cards (similar to the bonus squares on the boardgame). Groups make as many words as they can with their letters, let each groups leader write the words onto the whiteboard and calculate the points for each word they make.
Since the older students are very competitive they keep track of each others scores and try to catch those who are using words that are not proper.
If you have a friend in SA, ask them to hook you up!
I also recommend laminating the cards, to keep them around for much longer. (Also a good idea to laminate your UNO and other playing cards)
For each word they make they can come and ask for another card. If they want to trade a card they can ask 'may I trade one card?'. This is also a great way to get them to use their dictionaries as opposed to always asking the teacher "How do you spell ____? Is ___ a word?" Now I just tell them to look in their dictionaries, or that if they don't know, then they cannot use it.
World's Best Jobs!
Dave's ESL Cafe Copyright © 2008 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.