Bailey’s super-sized Scrabble a hit at Family Game Night
Bailey’s super-sized Scrabble a hit at Family Game Night
Posted on 11/17/2015
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WEST HAVEN, Nov. 11, 2015 — Whether they’re earning a triple-word score or just a handful of points, students are winning big and in more ways than one every time they play on Bailey Middle School’s new super-sized Scrabble board.

That’s because they’re honing vocabulary, math and problem-solving skills at the same time, say Bailey teachers who helped bring the gigantic version of the game to life in Bailey’s cafeteria this month.(Click here for a photo gallery of the evening.)

The school’s Nov. 4 Family Game Night marked the debut of the 17-square-foot Scrabble “board” on the cafeteria floor, along with its 1-square-foot letter tiles and 8-foot-long wooden letter racks. Lowe’s Home Improvement, Home Depot and Amore Carpet and Floor Covering donated materials and supplies, and students, staff and Amore workers volunteered to create the board and playing pieces.

Crowds remained gathered around the game during the entirety of last week’s Family Game Night as students and family members competed on teams, brainstormed ways to use high-scoring letters like “Z” and “Q,” and even added some local flair by playing words like “Westies.”

“The hope is that in months and years to come, teachers use it as an incentive for kids and for more family nights and for classroom activities. It’s helping kids strengthen language and math skills in a unique and fun way,” said Jennifer Raba, Bailey’s English language arts facilitator.

Raba and Bailey Math Coach Maria Delvecchio had long been envisioning a life-size Scrabble for the school that featured a removable board. When they decided to have a Family Game Night that combined literacy and math activities this fall, they thought it was the ideal time to put their plan into motion.

When they sought out supplies, they learned it would be better to permanently install colored floor tiles in the cafeteria that would signify triple- and double-point scores.

“It was our intention all along to make our game board temporary. But when Darren Amore (of Amore Carpet and Floor Covering) heard our plan, he said, ‘Why don't I just install it?’ We couldn't believe it, and we’re just so lucky that people were willing to do this for our school,” Raba said.

Home Depot donated white floor tiles, spray paint, and wood for the letters, which they also trimmed; Lowe’s contributed white boards and glue for the scoreboard; and Amore (which, the teachers learned, employs some workers who were once Bailey students) offered colored tiles and to install all of the new floor tiles.

Bailey woodshop classes helped to shape and sand the tiles and create the letter racks, and other student volunteers painted letters onto the wooden squares.

“It was a huge team effort,” Delvecchio said.

Students like Chloe Hummel, a Bailey eighth-grader, helped set up for game night and assisted with keeping score and handing families new letter tiles each time they spelled another word on the board.

“I think it’s really cool. It’s a lot more fun than the regular-size version,” she said.

Family Game Night also included Yahtzee, card games, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, and Kahoot, a computer-based quiz game. Students and teachers ran the games and a raffle. The Food Services Department also provided a free meal.

Bailey and other district schools hold family nights several times during the school year to give parents and guardians additional opportunities to be involved in their children’s education and offer kids a fun evening that is also educational.

Bailey teachers hope to install another board game in the cafeteria next year for another game night.

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Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114; susan.misur@whschools.org