How to use Boggle in Word Work

I've used Boggle in the classroom before, but it was mostly as an extra thing they could do if they finished early. But there's so much real learning potential in the game, that I recently switched it up to make it a bit more meaningful word work activity. Instead of putting up the letters on a Boggle Board on the wall, I made a printable that has the letters already in the board.



For one day's rotation of Daily Five, I just positioned myself at the Word work table so I could meet with each group as they tried Boggle as a part of word work. It was a good thing that I did that because a lot of the kids never really had the "extra" time before to do it and many of them didn't really understand the different ways they could use the board.

Now, I'm a bonafide word-nerd, so I grew up playing Boggle, but just in case you didn't and your kids aren't sure either - here are some tips. Words can be made by going across, up, down and diagonal, much like a word search. However, discourage your kids from actually drawing lines on the Boggle board because it gets all scribbled on fast and they need to use the same letters over and over in different variations.

Here you can see the simple words gas and with that were made just by reading across the line. In the second example, you can see how things get a little more tricky when they move around the board in more interesting ways.

So to get my kids to come up with better words than the most obvious, I started to give them clues.

For example, I saw the word gash. So first I said, "I see a word that means a deep cut".  In one group, one kid got it right away. In the other groups I needed to give some more clues. So I went on, "It starts with a G". Then clarified "It's the G in top row".  Someone in most of the groups got it by then, but I had to keep going for some. So I tried, "It rhymes with bash". I had one group who still couldn't get it and when I revealed the word, it turned out that they just didn't know the word. I made a big deal about how awesome it was that we learned a new word today!



For another word, I gave clues that went something like this:
1. It's a part of your body.
2. It's in the middle of your body.
3. It's the place where you wear a belt.
Most of them got waist at that point. So then I said, "Now, find a homophone for waist" because conveniently waste could also be made from the same w. 

We did this for a few words each time. For guest, I told them to look for a word the describes people who come over to your house. Then gave them a few more clues like, "it rhymes with best", etc. When they got guest, I asked them if they could make it plural to get an even bigger score - and what do you know? They could! Amazing how that happened ;0)

So with one little round of Boggle we practiced spelling, vocabulary, rhyming words, homophones, plurals, and more. Not too shabby! Plus it really renewed their interest in the game and they're begging me for it again. I took some care when making the board to be sure that there were some good words to find and use as a teaching opportunity.

You'll notice on the sheet I added a scoring section. This adds a nice little math component. Some started to write the number of points next to each word to make it easier to count when they were done. I offered the high score a free number on our class bingo chart as a reward. The seemed pretty stoked about that!

If you want a copy of the board, just click HERE to grab it from Dropbox. 
*Edited to add: After several requests, I made an entire set of printable boggle games which you can find HERE!

Let me know what you think!







16 comments

  1. I love Boggle and ours is also a 'when you finish' activity. I agree with you about providing guidance, as many of my students would be challenged by either a) not knowing the word or b) inventive spelling. Must try this version. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. I really should have done this in the beginning of the year when I introduced it. I will for sure next year!

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  2. I love this. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. I am also a big Boggle fan (I keep on adding and deleting the app from my iPad because I find it hard to resist). I know some of the kids in my class will love this. Thanks.

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    1. I get addicted to games on the ipad too! I was playing Words with Friends and Scramble way too much. Then it was Candy Crush. It's crazy how much of a time suck they can be, but I tell myself it's good for my brain. lol!

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  4. We love Boggle in our class. I think they will like this version too. Thank you!

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  5. Silly question, how do you determine what letters to use and where to put them? I am always worried that my self created boards won't have any words. Thanks for the awesome resource!

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    1. I actually start the board with a few good, longer words, then fill in the rest of the spaces with random letters. Then I play myself and see if I can make any words, or if I need to tweak a few letters to make more words and definitely try to weed out words I rather NOT have them find. It's amazing though even when you just randomly fill the grid with letters, you can still find lots of words. I guess that's what makes the game so enduring!

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  6. I've used teacher-created Boggle boards at my words center often this year and my kiddos love them! I'm going to add this in, as well! (Scrambled with Friends is one of my favorite apps! Most of my friends won't play with me though!) ~ Lisa

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    1. I can get really caught up in the word game apps too! I end up feeling like I wasted a ton of time, but it's a good mental break sometimes, and a great way to pass the time waiting in line or on long drives...

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  7. Thanks, I wasn't sure how to play the game and your explanation really made it clear. What a great game for my students.

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  8. My kids loooooved this version! You should totally make a packet for TPT, I would totally buy it!!
    Thanks for the freebie!
    Mandi
    MOORE Fun In Kindergarten

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  9. Thanks Mandi!
    I was thinking about a packet of them for tpt, but I wasn't sure if there was a need. Maybe I'll get on that :)

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    1. I would definitely purchase a packet if there was one made!

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