Always Be Connecting: The OP’s Word Games for Bringing the Classroom Together

The bell has rung on a weeklong salute to educators across the country, allowing students, their parents, and fellow faculty members to extend their gratitude toward the unsung classroom ambassadors who make enlightening others a labor of love.

Teacher Appreciation Week is for those who influence students of all ages, but as the focus of most thanks points to our youth’s mentors, sharing word games with grade-schoolers displays how facilitating interpersonal connections makes teachers the heroes of today’s tech-obsessed society.

We had the pleasure of seeing creative sparks fly at Literacy First Charter School in El Cajon, CA, when third-graders had their fun with The OP’s award-winning signature games Blank Slate and Tapple.

Mrs. London used her desktop projector to display the game components, explain the rules to her kids, and divided them into groups to try their hand at these exciting friendly competitions. 

Incorporating the interactive fun of dry-erase markers and player boards, its simplistic schoolhouse design and a premise based on forming compound words, Blank Slate applies the improvisational thrill of filling in the blanks to the building of bonds between players who come up with matching answers. 

After revealing a Word Cue card to start the brainstorming, players secretly write down a single word to complete the incomplete phrase. Coming up with the same answer as one other player equals three points, two or more matches mean one point, while not matching anyone just means you miss out for that turn. It’s a race to use your intuition and vocabulary to be the first player with 25 points for the win!

Blank Slate is for 3-8 players, ages 8 and up, with each round lasting about 20-35 minutes (but good luck stopping after just one!). Each box contains a score board, dry-erase slates and markers, and 250 double-sided Word Cue cards for endless playing possibilities! 

Tapple incorporates the knowledge of single words from a variety of categories with a user-paced, tactical wheel of letters to test memory and motor functions for all ages! After selecting a category card, players surrounding the Tapple wheel take turns shouting out an example of the category beginning with a letter of the alphabet. Pushing down that tab and hitting the center button resets the timer for the next person, until either being stumped or running out of time leaves the last person standing as Tapple victor!

Even with less commonly used letters like Q, U, V, Y, and Z omitted from the alphabet options, the laughter and shock from last-minute decision-making creates an element of surprise that amuses everyone hoping not to “go blank” on their turn.

Tapple is for 2-8 players, ages 8 and up, with each round lasting 10-20 minutes. The game comes with a field trip-friendly Tapple wheel that requires 2 AA batteries (for all the fun sound effects!) and 144 categories on 36 cards. Check your local local game or toy store to pick up this fast and fun challenge, or order it for your favorite teacher from Amazon to ship it right to his or her classroom!

Special thanks to Mrs. London and her students at Literary First Charter School for allowing The OP to share an interesting and educational day with everyone for Teacher Appreciation Week! Find more information about these and other games and puzzles to keep your youngsters excited to learn from our collection, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the first word on forthcoming releases!

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