Hello everyone! My name is Andrew Kempen and am excited to share with you a game called PE Scrabble. While attending the IAHPERD (Illinois) State Convention several years ago, a version of this game was being taught at a session that focused on cross-curricular activities. The game stuck out to me and I brought that idea back and made a few changes to the game to suit my students better. This activity gives the students a chance to work on a variety of different concepts: academic, life, and movement skills!
K-4; as with any game, variations can be made to suit other grade levels
Teamwork, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, game strategies, spelling/letter recognition, cardio, locomotor skills
- Self-made Scrabble Sheets by grade (front and back, 1 per team)
- 10 sets of all letters individually cut out (I laminate them as well)
- 2 exercise mats
- Hula hoops (1 per team)
- Poly spots (1 per team)
Note: I asked the classroom teachers at my school for grade-level appropriate words
On one end of the gym set up one poly spot, one hula hoop, and one scrabble sheet per team as seen in the picture below.
On the opposite end of the gym place two unfolded exercise mats placed together with all of the letters spread out on them. This is called The Letter Bank. I have found it is easier for the students to pick up the individual letters off of an exercise mat rather than the floor.
Saw this game at IAHPERD several years ago and put my own twist on it. Scrabble PE Edition. Great game, Ss loved it. Got some ELA work in, TONS of communication, and got their hearts pumping in the process. #iahperdchat #espechat #elempe #physed #crosscurricular pic.twitter.com/gaTGH8RvSs
— Andrew Kempen (@MrKPe) December 2, 2019
Divide the class up into groups. Each group is at a poly-spot. On the start signal, the first player in line will perform a locomotor skill down to the Letter Bank and retrieve ONE letter while the rest of the team is doing jumping jacks. When the player returns with a letter they are to place it on the correct spot on their scrabble sheet and then go to the end of their team’s line and perform 10 jumping jacks. Once the letter is placed in the correct spot the next in line person takes their turn and the game repeats for a predetermined amount of time. Goal for each team is to spell as many of the words on their sheet as possible during the round. At the end of the round go over the words that the teams were able to spell, collect the letters and return them to the letter bank. Play a new round if time allows with another set of words.
Students really seemed to enjoy this game. It also gave a chance for those students who may not be the most physically skilled to shine and show their academic skills. After every round I had students wanting to play again.
- Instead of actual words for my kinder level students, I have just letters on the scrabble sheets to help with letter recognition. They must match the letter they bring back to the same letter on the scrabble sheet.
- Have students do an exercise once they get down to the Letter Bank to earn a letter.
- Give out “wild cards” to be used as any letter to the teams that are showing any kind of positive behavior that goes above and beyond expected behavior.
- Have a choice round where the teams gather up as many letters as possible in any order and at the end of the round have them use those letters as many times as they need to spell as many words as they can.
- Have students practice a sports skills, i.e basketball dribbling, instead of a locomotor skill while going to the Letter Bank during the game.
About the Author
My name is Andrew Kempen and I teach K-3 PE at Thomas Edison Primary School in Kankakee, IL. All of my 14 years of teaching have been in the Kankakee School District. I have taught at 5 other schools in the district and I have been at Edison Primary for the last 4 years. I live in a small town with my wife Shanna and my three kids, Braden, Bella, and Ben. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Illinois State University in Normal, IL in 2006. I am a huge Cubs fan! Go Cubs Go!