Words with Friends (October 6)

Written by Joy Porter, AU student and CCE Fellow.

image from Words with Friends

Celebrating fall!

This past Monday we took a break from our normal Scrabble competition to usher in fall the most fun way possible— with word games! Okay, so we didn’t stray too far from our normal program, but the kids seemed to really enjoy the slight break from ‘Scramble,’ as they’ve taken to calling it. And they were having so much fun that they didn’t even seem to notice that all of our games were still educational. Each of our games turned into a race as the kids sought to unscramble autumn-related words, to solve the fall crossword puzzle, and to stump their friends in Hangman with their best fall/ Halloween words.

The kids had so much fun with this week that I think we may try to incorporate some more non-Scrabble word games to keep things interesting. Unfortunately, with Fall Break, there’s no Words with Friends, but we’ll be back at it the week after!


Wonderful Wednesdays (October 1)

Written by Joy Porter, AU student and CCE Fellow.

image from Wonderful Wednesdays program

Domino players Ruth Lockhart (l) and Edward Echols (r) plot their next moves.

This week the Porter folks picked their two favorite games to be our games of the week. Unsurprisingly, dominoes garnered a sound majority and was selected as our first game of the week. Phase 10 was also selected as our game of the week, steadily gaining a following over the last few weeks.

Most of our attendees wanted to play dominoes, testing out the skills that they’ve honed over the last few weeks. Each player has their own strategy: Ms. Ruth plays aggressively, daring anyone to counter her bold moves; Ms. Annie is our shrewd strategist, knowing exactly which domino to play and when; Ms. Ruby plays with passion, investing herself in every move and game; and Mr. Edward plays with a laid-back and good-natured façade, catching his opponents by surprise with his cunning gameplay. All of our players are pretty evenly-matched, and this week, they seemed to win fairly evenly. I already heard talk of a rematch that will be happening soon, so I’ll be sure to update when we have our next dominoes championship.

image from Wonderful Wednesdays program

Foreground, left to right: Mary Katherine Dean, Virginia Scoggins; Background, left to right: Edward Echols, Ruby Morgan, Charlotte Mattox, Jessica Davis

The other table was our Phase 10 group. For those who haven’t played before, Phase 10 is a game in which players are dealt a ten-card hand, with the object being to get a certain combination (such as four cards of the same number) before your opponents do. After completing a certain combination, you graduate to a new combination (or phase) that you must acquire before your opponents acquire theirs. The winner, then, is the first person who completes all ten of the game’s phases before his or her opponents do. We started playing Phase 10 just a few weeks ago, and it’s already become a big hit. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to finish our game this week, but Ms. Virginia was definitely the closest of all of us.

I think next week we’ll be playing Bingo, which everyone seemed really excited. I’ll be sure to check back in and post lots of pictures!

Words with Friends (September 29)

Written by Joy Porter, AU student and CCE Fellow.

image from Words with Friends programThis week we had our biggest group ever. All of the kids who’ve been coming to our program for the last few weeks returned this week and brought some more friends, bringing our total to twelve or so participants. Whether they were there for the free after-school snacks or because of the Scrabble, I’m not sure, but we were thrilled to have them either way!

That all of the kids were friends made the games even more fun as they all sought to out-do each other with the best moves. As you can see, we got some pretty spirited games going. And, since all of the kids who have been coming regularly have a good sense of the rules image from Words with Friends programnow, they were able to explain to their friends how the games worked. Best of all, we’ve been able to turn the games into little vocabulary sessions, asking the kids if they know the definitions (or the alternate definitions) of certain words, and talking about which words we could make if we added or subtracted a letter. One little girl who’s been coming pretty regularly told me how much she enjoyed learning new words with us and how she’d started looking up new ones in the dictionary to remember for our Scrabble Mondays.

image from Words with Friends programI think next week we’ll incorporate some new word games to keep things interesting— hopefully they’ll enjoy these just as much as they have Scrabble!

Words with Friends (September 22)

Written by Joy Porter, AU student and CCE Fellow.

image from Words with Friends program

Left to right: Auburn student Callie Shepherd and community partner Charlotte Mattox, the Housing Authority’s FSS/Social Services Coordinator

You heard it here first: Scrabble is taking the Ridgecrest neighborhood by storm!

Okay, so it’s probably a little early to make big pronouncements like that, but, even though we’re only in our second official week, we’ve already had a good number of kids join us for some word games and snacks in our Monday afternoon program. This week, we had all the kids from last week return, and they brought a few friends with them. Hopefully, we’ll be able to continue this trend, adding a few new students each week.

The kids we’ve been working with are mainly elementary- and junior high-age, so we’re still in the instruction stage of figuring out the game. Towards the end, we got a few good games going— Callie and I played two little girls from Ridgecrest, and we had a lot of fun. Some of the answers in our game got a little silly— it’s funny, I never knew there were quite so many words that had each a Q and X and K in them! In all seriousness, though, it was a lot of fun to see the girls get into the game and to stretch their creativity as they told us all about the meanings and origins of their invented words. Next week, though, we may try to get a few more words from the dictionary on the board!

Wonderful Wednesdays (September 24)

Written by Joy Porter, AU student and CCE Fellow.

image of people at Wonderful Wednesdays program

Left side of table, left to right: Charlotte Mattox, Annie Avery, Edward Echols
Right side of table, left to right: Ruby Morgan (in pink), Ruth Lockhart (in patterned blue)

New week, new games.

This week, we decided to mix it up a bit in our Wonderful Wednesday program in the Porter neighborhood, introducing a few new games. Our right side of the table with Charlotte Mattox, Annie Avery, Edward Echols, Ruth Lockhart and Ruby Morgan played the card game ‘Tonk.’ Most of the Porter residents had played the game before, but Ms. Mattox was new to the game. Even though she had never played before, she definitely held her own in their games, even coming out as the winner of a few hands.

image of people at Wonderful Wednesdays program

Left to right: Virginia Scoggins, Mary Katherine Dean

On the left side of the table, Virginia Scoggins, Mary Katherine Dean, Jessica Davis, and I played the card game ‘Phase 10.’ I first learned about this game from the Porter folks, so I was really excited to be able to play and to challenge one of the Porter neighborhood’s ultimate competitors, Ms. Scoggins. After a slow start, I was able to come from behind and tie Ms. Scoggins and Jessica for the lead. Unfortunately, our time ran out before we were able to finish the game, but I fully expect to challenge those ladies to a rematch next week.

This week, we also began putting together a 500-piece puzzle as a group. Right now, we just have the edges completed so it doesn’t look too much like the picture (a kitten chasing a butterfly) yet, but I’ll be sure to post pictures updating our progress as we work on it this semester.

Wonderful Wednesdays (September 17th)

Written by Joy Porter, AU student and CCE Fellow.

image of people at Wonderful Wednesday program

Left to right: Annie Avery, Georgia Frazier

Well, Wednesday was our fourth Wonderful Wednesday of the semester, and I’d say it was a definite success. We’ve started to have a good core group of people come join us each week, and I’ve so enjoyed getting to know these folks from the Porter neighborhood.

image from Wonderful Wednesday program

Foreground, left to right: Arlene James (in white), Princella Owens (in patterned blue), Darlene Durr (in pink);
Background, left to right: Virginia Scoggins, Charlotte Mattox

This week we played a few of our most popular games (Uno and dominoes), but we also introduced some new ones— checkers and Chinese checkers. In my last post I talked about how spirited the dominoes games get each week, but I think the checkers may rival it in competitiveness!

I’ve included a picture between Ms. Annie Avery and Ms. Georgia Frazier. They were our two champions, handily

image from Wonderful Wednesday program

Left to right: Virginia Scoggins, Charlotte Mattox

beating everyone (including me!) who challenged them. We finally staged a championship between the two ladies. After some hard-fought games, Ms. Georgia won the showdown with three games to Ms. Annie’s one. I believe that there may be a rematch in the works in the coming weeks— if they do end up playing again, I’ll be sure to let y’all know about the ultimate winner!

Words with Friends (September 15)

Written by Joy Porter, AU student and CCE Fellow.

Words with Friends volunteer

Ellie Porter, volunteer

Well, our ‘Words with Friends’ program began in earnest this week in the Ridgecrest neighborhood, and it was so much fun! We had a good number of fifth and sixth graders join us on Monday afternoon for some Scrabble and some afternoon snacks. We had kids come from all stages of Scrabble experience— some who had grown up playing with their families, to those who had played it occasionally, to some who had never heard of the game.  For the first week, we paired the Ridgecrest students up with an Auburn or Housing Authority volunteer to help them get a feel for the game before we start our tournament. Early on, we played casually, more focused on learning or re-learning the rules. As the game went on, however, and the students got more comfortable, these games got intense as the students tried to outdo their friends with the most impressive word.

We broke into two games, with two teams competing against each other in each game. At our table we talked about what our favorite classes were, and the student who was on my team told me about how much she loved to read. That love of reading definitely came in handy during the game. She had a great vocabulary and a really good eye for pulling words out of our jumble of letters. We didn’t keep score this week, but if we had, I definitely think she would have been our winner!