Have you ever played Bananagrams? Well, honestly, I haven’t either. I know that it’s a little like Scrabble, and is a banana-bag filled with letter tiles. At our “opening day” staff meeting, my fabulous principal, Mrs. Sisul, did this version of Bananagrams with our staff. I thought it would be really great to try it with my 5th graders. Here’s how we used it in our room on Thursday.
Every kiddo was given a letter tile out of the banana, and then were given these directions:
1. Find as many different other letters as you can and make a word.
2. No talking.
3. Sit down after you have a word.
4. If you can’t use your letter to make a word, wait by the easel.
During our first round, we made the words NUN, PEARS (which later became SPEAR), BOW (which became BROW when we added someone who needed a group), I (it’s a real word, right?), and RIO. They did great, and followed all of the rules I gave them. I was a little surprised with how easy it was to do the “not talking” part–that’s usually the rule that gets broken first. Not these kids, though. 🙂
We did another round where we added the rule that they had to make words that were 4 or more letters. They LOVED this game, and have requested it multiple times since we played it. I’m excited to come back to it often, with different rules each time. The possibilities are endless, really. I’m excited to try it for spelling. Our program is based around a different “generalization” each week, and so they’d have to make words that follow that pattern, i.e. short vowels, “r”-controlled words, long vowels, etc. I know they’ll be up for the challenge!
Have you played Bananagrams? Have you used it in your classroom? Do you have a suggestion for us for a rule we could add to our game? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks to you post, I just bought Banagrams for my classroom. Each morning, my students have an index card at their seat. They are to put a word on the card that came from their previous night’s reading. When the bell rings, the class needs to sort their words into a category that will fit each word. Banagrams will provide an alternative to this daily activity.
This is a great idea,too! Don’t you love how teachers can share great stuff? What kinds of categories do they usually sort their words into? And thanks, btw, for commenting!
Love this idea as well, and am also intrigued the sorts. Can you share some examples?
Both of these ideas are great! I too, am curious about Erik’s categories for word sorts…. lots of possibilities. Letter combinations? parts of speech? word meaning? word parts? free sort and have students explain their reasoning? Definitely going to use these ideas in my grade 6 classroom. Thank you!
Jennifer, love how you expanded upon my tip of the iceberg idea (ok, it was Heidi Ford’s idea!) Would you consider sharing your extensions with the staff at our next meeting? Love the parameters you included (number of letters, no talking etc.)
Absolutely! Maybe we could even have a chance to try it with the spelling idea I mentioned before then, too.
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