Posted in English 1103, Reading, Social Media, Teaching

ENG 1103: Page and Screen and “The Chaos Machine”

The Chaos Machine, the new book by New York Times journalist Max Fisher explores how social media has altered our lives. Because Fisher’s books focuses on our class theme, our lives in the digital world, it’s an ideal text for us to examine, and the High Point Univeristy Library has agreed to buy a copy for our use. We will study an excerpt from Fisher’s book in class, and you will have the opportunity to use it as one of the sources for your final essay and annotated bibliography.

Next Up

At the beginning of class on Monday, I will collect your completed worksheets for Lesson Three in the Check, Please! course. If you are absent from class today, Friday, September 9, when I distribute the worksheet, you can download a copy from Blackboard.

Also, in class on Monday, we will examine two additional models for your literacy narrative, and you will collaboratively explore the writers’ use of description and development.

Posted in English 1103, Scrabble, Teaching

ENG 1103: Two-Letter Words, B-E

The September 1 Scrabble blog post featured the sixteen playable two-letter words beginning with “a.” Learning those two-letter words, as well as the others that follow in the alphabet, will enable you to see more options for play and increase the number of points you earn in a single turn.

Here’s a list of the playable words beginning with “b,” “d,” and “e.”

  • ba: the soul in ancient Egyptian spirituality
  • bi: a bisexual
  • bo: a pal
  • by: a side issue
  • de: of; from
  • do: a tone on a scale
  • ed: education
  • ef: the letter f (also eff)
  • eh: used to express doubt
  • el: an elevated train
  • em: the letter m
  • en: the letter n
  • er: used to express hesitation
  • es: the letter s
  • et: a past tense of eat
  • ex: the letter x

Next Up

Wordplay Day! To prepare for class, review Tips and Tools on the Scrabble site. Also review the blog posts devoted to Scrabble.

Coming Soon

At the beginning of class on Monday, I will collect your completed worksheets for Lesson Three in the Check, Please! course. If you are absent from class on Friday, September 9, when I distribute the worksheet, you can download a copy from Blackboard.

Also, in class on Monday, we will examine two additional models for your literacy narrative, and you will collaboratively explore the writers’ use of description and development.

Posted in Check, Please!, English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Revising the Literacy Narrative

For your literacy narrative, as well as all of your other major writing assignments, you have the opportunity to earn five extra credit points for consulting with a Writing Center tutor.

To schedule an appointment, visit https://highpoint.mywconline.com, email the Writing Center’s director, Justin Cook, at jcook3@highpoint.edu, or scan the QR code below. To earn bonus points for your literacy narrative, consult with a writing center tutor no later than Thursday, September 15.


Check, Please! Lesson Two

At the beginning of class on Monday, September 5, I collected your worksheets for Check, Please! lesson two. My sample version of the assignment appears below.

Check, Please! Lesson Two Assignment

In the second lesson of the Check, Please! Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, introduces the second step in four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source. Lesson two offers instruction in “move” (“Investigate the Source”) and one of the web search techniques associated with it (“[J]ust add Wikipedia”).

One of the most useful practices presented in lesson two is Caulfield’s follow-up to the Wikipedia strategy that he outlines in the previous lesson. After he reviews that strategy, Caulfield explains how to use the control-f keyboard shortcut (command-f on a Mac). Typing control-f (or command-f) will open a small textbox in the upper right of the screen. Typing a word you are searching for will highlight the first appearance of the word in the text. Hitting return will highlight each subsequent appearance of the word.

Lesson two introduced me to fauxtire, a term for websites such as World News Daily Report, based in Tel Aviv, that present themselves as satirical but in fact serve primarily to perpetuate disinformation.

Perhaps the most memorable portion of lesson two was the side-by-side comparison of the websites for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Pediatricians. Though at first glance the two appear comparable, using the Wikipedia strategy reveals their profound differences. While AAP is the premiere authority on children’s health and well-being, ACP was founded to protest the adoption of children by single-sex couples and is widely viewed as a single-issue hate organization.

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-esources-for-2021/.


Next Up

Wordplay Day! To up your game, review the Tips and Tools page on the Scrabble site, and review the blog posts devoted to Scrabble.

Posted in English 1103, Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Model Literacy Narratives

As a model for your own literacy narratives, today in class we will examine “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” originally published in Esquire magazine and later as the title essay in David Sedaris’ 2000 essay collection.

After we read  Sedaris’ essay, you will collaborate in groups of four to complete an exercise that involves exploring these aspects of his writing:

  • Shifts from summary to scene and vice versa
  • Figurative language
  • Hyperbole
  • Vivid detail

I will also ask you to consider what elements are the strongest aspects of the essay and whether “Me Talk Pretty One Day” has given you any ideas for developing your own narrative. Time permitting, we will also read Helen Keller’s essay “The Day Language Came into My Life.”

To read more of Sedaris’ essays, see the list of links under the heading Writing and Radio on his website. You can read more of Helen Keller’s autobiography, the full text in fact, here: The Story of My Life. “The Day Language Came into My Life” is Chapter Four.

Next Up

For Wednesday you should read Keller’s essay (if you don’t have time to read it in class today), and compose a short summary of both her essay and Sedaris.’ Aim for a minimum of fifty words each.

Keep Keller’s and Sedaris’ essays in your pocket portfolio and continue to look to them as models as you revise your literacy narrative. You will receive your draft with my notes at the beginning of Wednesday’s class, and you will have the class period to continue to revise. You will have an additional week to devote to your essay before you post it. It is due (on Blackboard and on your WordPress blog) before class the morning of Wednesday, September 14; the hard deadline is the morning of Friday, September 16.

Posted in English 1103, Scrabble, Teaching

ENG 1103: Parallel Play

Parallel play increases your score through the points you earn by spelling more than one word in a single turn. In the first play of the hypothetical game pictured above, the team would score sixteen points by spelling enact with the t on the center double word square. With the second turn, the other team could take advantage of the opportunity for parallel play. If the team knew that aa is a type of lava, they could earn twenty-four points with four words: whoa, he, on, and aa.

Two-Letter Words Beginning with A

Aa is one of sixteen playable two-letter words beginning with a. Learning these two-letter words, as well as the others that follow in the alphabet, will enable you to see more options for play and increase the number of points you earn in a single turn.

  • aa: a type of stony, rough lava
  • ab: an abdominal muscle
  • ad: an advertisement
  • ae: one
  • ag: agriculture
  • ah: an exclamation
  • ai: a three-toed sloth
  • al: a type of East Indian tree
  • am: the first-person singular present form of to be
  • an: an indefinite article
  • ar: the letter r
  • as: similar to
  • at: in the position of
  • aw: an expression of sadness or protest
  • ay: a vote in the affirmative (also aye)

Important Note about Challenges

The game rules inside the Scrabble box top do not specify that a player or team that challenges a playable word will lose a turn, but David Bukszpan’s book Is That a Word? notes that the player or team does lose a turn. According to Bukszpan:

“[I]f a word is challenged and found not to be legal (called a phony in Scrabble parlance), the player that set it down loses a turn. Conversely, if a challenged word is found to be playable, the challenger loses his turn” (19).

Work Cited

Bukszapan, David. Is That a Word?: From AA to ZZZ, the Weird and Wonderful Language of SCRABBLE. Chronicle, 2012. p.19.


Coming Soon

At the beginning of class on Monday, September 5, I will collect your completed worksheet for Lesson Two of the Check, Please! starter course. If you are absent tomorrow when I distribute worksheets or you misplace your copy, you can download and print one from Blackboard or here:

Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Beginning the Literacy Narrative

Today in class you will begin planning and drafting your literacy narrative, an an account of a learning experience, which may be a particular school assignment or an extracurricular activity, such as playing a sport or a musical instrument or serving in a leadership position in an organization.

How to Begin

Begin by asking yourself some of these questions: Who are you as a student/musician/club vice president/etc.? How have you come to think about yourself as a student/musician/club vice president/etc.? What were some of your most formative experiences in that role? What are some of the do’s and don’ts you have learned about that endeavor? How have they enhanced your confidence and skill in that role? You don’t need to respond to all of those questions. Try picking one or two as a starting point, then move to bringing your experiences to life.

Your aim is to recreate those experiences on the page and then to reflect on their significance. Your focus may be any one of the following:

  • an extracurricular activity, such as playing a sport or a musical instrument or serving in a leadership position in an organization.
  • a memory of a school assignment that you recall vividly  
  • someone who helped you learn
  • a writing-related school event that you found humorous or embarrassing
  • a particular type of writing that you found (or still find) especially difficult or challenging
  • a memento that represents an important moment in your development as a student (or an athlete, a musician, a club leader, etc.)

In class this morning you will receive the assignment sheet that details the guidelines for the literacy narrative. If you are absent today, you can download a copy of the assignment sheet from Blackboard or from this blog post. Next Wednesday, September 7, I will return your draft with my notes, and you will have the class period to revise on your laptop or tablet. You will have an additional week to continue to revise before you post your revision to Blackboard and publish it on your blog on or before the morning of Wednesday, September 14.

Today in class you will also receive a paper copy of the updated course calendar. If you are absent, you can download a copy from Blackboard


“Blogs vs. Term Papers”

For today’s class you read and summarized Matt Richtel’s New York Times‘ article “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” My sample summary of the article appears below.

“Blogs vs. Term Papers” Summary

In The New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” Matt Richtel reports on the debate in higher education on how best to teach writing in the digital age. While some professors have followed the lead of City University of New York’s Cathy N. Davidson, replacing the traditional term paper with shorter, more frequent blog assignments, their detractors—including Douglas B. Reeves, columnist for the American School Board Journal and William H. Fitzhugh, editor of The Concord Review—argue that blog writing lacks the academic rigor that fosters critical thinking. For Andrea Lunsford, professor of writing at Stanford University, pitting blogs against term papers creates a false opposition. Rather than replacing term papers with blog posts, Lunsford requires students to produce multi-modal assignments: term papers that evolve into blogs, websites, and video presentations.

We will return to “Blogs vs. Term Papers” in the coming weeks. You will have the option to choose it for the subject of your analysis essay, and you may want to want to address Richtel’s article in your midterm reflection, too.

Next Up

Wordplay Day! To prepare for class, review Tips and Tools on the Scrabble site. Also review the blog posts devoted to Scrabble.

Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Sample Student Writing

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): Rachael King, Amelia Cambio, Jaden Gleiber, Harrison Walls

Yesterday in class, along with submitting your first Check, Please! assignment, you examined three of the paragraphs that students collaboratively composed last Wednesday on some of the habits of mind cultivated by successful college students. The paragraphs that follow are revised versions of those paragraphs. Changes I made include ones of punctuation, diction, and grammar. The paragraphs would benefit from additional concrete details, too, but those particular additions can be made only by the students themselves. Keep the annotated handout in your pocket portfolio, and look to it as a model for editing for both individual and group assignments.

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): Sam Kaylor, Nick Laurenco, Victoria Leary, Melanie Hale

Student Writing, Sample One

Persistency, or continuing when faced with adversity, poses challenges for students who procrastinate. One member of our group shared an example from many years ago when they [he or she if the person is not nonbinary] received a failing grade on their [see previous pronoun note] first exam. Because the student did not study for the exam, he/she/they earned a failing grade, a grade that no student wants to earn and no teacher wants to record in the gradebook. That experience prompted him/her/they to develop the habit of preparing for class. By completing the same routine over and over, the student found himself/herself/themselves ready for any situation. By practicing consistent persistence, that student—and all of the rest of us—can always be successful.

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): Jackson Tuomey, Chris Sciortino, Josh Stevens, Janie McDowell

Student Writing, Sample Two

Flexibility, or the ability to adapt in a new environment and unfamiliar situations, resonates with each of us in our group. Our group members are very similar in terms of how we have adapted to situations that challenged us to be flexible. For example: [name ommitted for anonymity]’s work environment involved conflicts with priorities and time management. In order to accommodate to such issues, he went with the flow when he faced problems at work. Doing so enabled him to minimize his stress, and he could often relax.

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): LaToya Darden-Dixon, Rachel Cornovas, Mer Mixon, Sean O’Donnell

Student Writing, Sample Three

Curiosity—or the desire to learn new things about issues, problems, people, or policies—is a habit of mind that all of us have cultivated. We all grew up wanting to explore the unknown, wanting to learn the realities of other people and look at the world from different perspectives. [Name omitted for anonymity], specifically, is very curious about the food in different cultures. She was very picky when she was young but her willingness to try new foods stemmed from her innate curiosity, she learned which ones she liked through and trial and error. [Name omitted for anonymity] developed the habit of curiosity in the classroom. For him/her/they, school opened up broad subjects like psychology, which developed into a curiosity about the anatomy of the brain. [Name omitted for anonymity] is curious about the uniqueness of the human experience. She is fascinated by how we all experience the same life so differently. Embracing the beauty of difference allows small connections to manifest into much more. Through travelling, meeting new people, and experiencing other cultures, her curiosity has only grown. Our curiosity mindsets have enabled us to branch out and expand our knowledge.

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): Alexa Hooten, Nick Kernaghan, Dary Guzman, Devlin Turner

Guidelines for Writing and Editing

  • When you’re composing collaboratively, make sure that everyone—not just the notetaker—is involved in the writing process.
  • After you have completed composing the piece, allow time for every group member to review the writing. If you recommend changes, let your group know and revise as needed.
  • Whether you’re writing collaboratively or alone, read your writing aloud. Hearing awkward passages will indicate where you need to edit for brevity. Noting where you pause in your reading may indicate where you need to add a comma or another punctuation mark.
  • Avoid passive constructions. The subject of the sentence should perform the action rather simply serve as a passive recipient—or worse, an absent subject.

Passive: The work was completed. Active: The students collaboratively composed the assignment.

Next Up

For Wednesday’s class, read Matt Richtel’s New York Times article “Blogs versus Term Papers.” Annotate (make notes in the margin) as you read, and afterward complete a short, fifty to one-hundred word, summary in your journal/writer’s notebook. Those of you in the 9:15 class (section 23) received a paper copy of the article in class. Those of you in the 10:40 class (section 24) should read the copy posted on Blackboard in the Readings folder or the one attached at the end of this post. Rather than annotating the article (since those of you in section 24 don’t have a paper copy yet), make your notes in your journal before you compose your summary of the article. In class on Wednesday I will give you a paper copy.

Important Note: The pages of the paper copies of “Blogs versus Term Papers” are not printed in the correct order. The front-to-back order is 1-3-2-4, so the pages should be read in this order: (1) front of first page, (2) front of second page, (3) back of first page, (4) back of second page. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Posted in Check, Please!, English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Check, Please! and Student Writing Samples

Mike Caulfield, author of the Check, Please! starter course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University / Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, htttps://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.

At the beginning of today’s class I will collect your worksheets for Lesson One of the Check, Please! starter course. My sample version of the assignment appears below (as well as on your worksheet and on Blackboard).

Sample Check, Please! Assignment

Check, Please! Lesson One Assignment

In the first lesson of the Check, Please!, Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, introduces the four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source: (1) “Stop,” (2) “Investigate,” (3) “Find better coverage,” and (4) “Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context.”

One of the most useful practices presented in lesson one is what the author terms the “Wikipedia Trick.” Deleting everything that follows a website’s URL (including the slash), adding a space, typing “Wikipedia,” and hitting “enter” will yield the site’s Wikipedia page. The Wikipedia entry that appears at the top of the screen may indicate the source’s reliability or lack thereof.

The most memorable segment of lesson one is the short, riveting video “The Miseducation of Dylann Roof,” which begins with the narrator asking the question, “How does a child become a killer?” Produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, it documents how algorithms can lead unskilled web searchers down paths of disinformation. In the worst cases, such as Roof’s, algorithms can lead searchers to the extremist propaganda of radical conspiracy theorists.

Work Cited

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, htttps://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.


Sample Student Writing

Today in class we will also examine some anonymous student samples from last Friday’s collaborative writing on habits of mind. Among the questions I will ask you to consider are these:

  1. Have the writers briefly defined the subject (the habit of mind)?
  2. Have they included concrete details that demonstrate how one or more group members have developed that habit of mind?

Post Script

Scrabble invloves a combination of luck and skill, and luck was clearly on my side yesterday morning when I was able to Scrabble, or Bingo (for an additional fifty points), by playing all seven of my tiles. Using the e in ace as a bridge, I was able to play squeezes with the q on a double letter score, the first e on a double letter score, and the final letter, s, on a double word score for a total of 124 points.

Posted in English 1103, Scrabble

ENG 1103: “What’s in a Name. . .”

As another way of putting names with faces, today in class I took pictures of the Scrabble groups in the 9:15 class, which I have included in this blog post. On Monday during your Scrabble debriefing, I will take pictures of the groups in the 10:40 class. In between the pictures of the groups that follow, you will find portions of an alphabetical list of first names that are also common nouns and therefore playable as Scrabble words.

(L-R): Parker Pignataro, Shelby Scott, Jack Rhynning, Mark Epstein
  • Al: a type of East Indian tree
  • Alan: a breed of hunting dog (also aland, alant)
  • Alec: a herring
  • Ana: a collection of miscellany about a specific topic
  • Anna: a former Indian coin
  • Barbie: a barbecue
  • Belle: a pretty woman
  • Ben: an inner room
  • Benny: an amphetamine pill
  • Bertha: a style of wide collar
  • Beth: a Hebrew letter
  • Biff: to hit
  • Bill: to charge for goods
  • Billy: a short club
  • Bo: a friend
  • Bobby: a policeman
  • Bonnie: pretty (also bonny)
  • Brad: a small nail or tack
  • Carl: a peasant or manual laborer (also carle)
  • Carol: to sing merrily
  • Celeste: a percussive keyboard instrument (also celesta)
  • Chad: a scrap of paper
  • Chevy: to chase (also chivy)
  • Christie: a type of turn in skiing (also christy)
(L-R): Eric Laurenco, Hunter Tobias, Harry Hennessy, Emma Smull
  • Clarence: an enclosed carriage
  • Dagwood: a large, stuffed sandwich (named after the comic strip character who was fond of them)
  • Daphne: a flowering shrub with poisonous berries
  • Davy: a safety lamp
  • Deb: a debutante
  • Devon: a breed of cattle
  • Dexter: located to the right
  • Dom: a title given to some monks
  • Don: to put on a piece of clothing
  • Donna: an Italian woman of repute
  • Erica: a shrub of the heath family
  • Fay: to join together closely
  • Florence: a former European gold coin
  • Franklin: a nonnoble medieval English landowner
  • Fritz: a nonworking or semi-functioning state
  • Gilbert: a unit of magneto-motive force
  • Gilly: to transport on a type of train car
  • Graham: whole-wheat flour
  • Hank: to secure a sail
  • Hansel: to gift a gift, usually to commence a new year (also handsel)
  • Harry: to harass
  • Henry: a unit of electrical inductance
  • Herby: full of herbs
  • Hunter: a person or animal that hunts
  • Jack: to hoist with a type of lever
  • Jacky: a sailor
  • Jake: okay, satisfactory
  • Jane: a girl or woman
  • Jay: any of various birds, known for their crests and shrill calls
  • Jean: denim
(L-R): Brylee Gibson, A’Niyah Moore, Erin Feeley, Tate Berman
  • Jenny: a female donkey
  • Jerry: a German soldier
  • Jess: to fasten a strap around the leg of a bird in falconry (also jesse)
  • Jill: a unit of measure equal to to 1/4 of a pint
  • Jimmy: to pry open
  • Joannes: a Portugese coin (also johannes)
  • Joe: a fellow
  • Joey: a young kangaroo
  • John: a toilet
  • Johnny: a hospital gown
  • Jones: a strong desire
  • Josh: to tease
  • Kelly: a bright shade of green
  • Kelvin: a unit of absolute temperature
  • Ken: to know
  • Kent: past tense of ken
  • Kerry: a breed of cattle
  • Kris: a curved dagger
  • Lars: plural of lar: a type of ancient Roman guardian deity (also lares)
  • Lassie: a lass
  • Laura: an aggregation of hermitages used by monks
  • Laurel: to crown one’s head with a wreath
  • Lee: to shelter from the wind
  • Louie: a lieutenant
  • Louis: a former gold coin of France worth twenty francs
  • Mac: a raincoat
  • Mae: more
  • Mamie: a tropical fruit-bearing tree (also mamey and mammee)
  • Marc: the pulpy residue of fruit after it is pressed for wine
(L-R): Makayla Curtis, Kelly Samz, Ethan Webber, Lawson Kilpatrick
  • Marcel: to make waves in the hair using a special iron
  • Marge: a margin
  • Mark: a line, figure, or symbol
  • Martin: any type of the bird also known as a swallow
  • Marvy: marvelous
  • Matilda (a hobo’s bundle (chiefly Australian)
  • Matt: to put a dull finish on (also matte)
  • Maxwell: a unit of magnetic flux
  • Mel: honey
  • Merle: a blackbird
  • Mickey: a drugged drink
  • Mike: a microphone (also mic)
  • Milt: to fertilize with fish sperm
  • Minny: a minnow
  • Mo: a moment
  • Molly: a type of tropical fish
  • Morgan: a unit of frequency in genetics
  • Morris: a type of folk dance from England
  • Morse: describing a type of code made of long and short signals
  • Mort: a note sounded in hunting to announce the death of prey
(L-R): Rosalie Olsen, Carolina Taylor, Emma Miller, Lucas Baker
  • Nelson: a type of wrestling hold
  • Newton: the unit of force required to accelerate one kilogram of mass on meter per second
  • Nick: to make a shallow cut
  • Norm: a standard
  • Pam: the name of the jack of clubs in some card games
  • Parker: one who parks a motorized vehicle
  • Peter: to lessen gradually
  • Pia: a fine membrane of the brain and spinal cord
  • Randy: sexually excited
  • Regina: a queen
  • Rex: a king
  • Rick: to stack, hay, corn, or straw
  • Roger: the pirate flag
  • Sal: salt
  • Sally: to make a brief trip or a sudden start
  • Sawyer: one who saws wood
  • Shawn: past tense of show
  • Sheila: a girl or young woman
  • Sol: the fifth note on a diatonic scale (also so)
  • Sonny: a boy or young man
  • Sophy: a former Persian ruler
  • Spencer: a type of sail
  • Tad: a young boy
  • Tammie: a fabric used in linings (also tammy)
  • Ted: to spread for drying
  • Teddy: a woman’s one-piece undergarment
  • Terry: a soft, absorbent type of cloth
  • Tiffany: a thin, mesh fabric
  • Timothy: a Eurasian grass used for grazing
  • Toby: a drinking mug in the shape of a man or a man’s face
  • Tod: a British unit of weight for wool equal to twenty-eight pounds
  • Tom: the male of various animals
  • Tommy: a loaf or chunk of bread
  • Tony: very stylish
  • Vera: very
  • Victoria: a light, four-wheeled carriage
  • Warren: an area where rabbits live, or a crowded maze-like place
  • Webster: one who weaves
  • Will: to choose, decree, or induce to happen
  • Willy: to clean fibers with a certain machine

Bonus Point Opportunity!

The first student to correctly respond to the playable first names question below will earn a bonus point for his/her/their first major writing assignment.

How many students in English 1103. 23 and 24 have first names–meaning the first names that they go by–that are playable Scrabble words? Note that Jane and Shawn are playable but Janie and Sean are not.

Directions for Finding and Submitting Your Answer

  1. Review the list of playable first names, compare it with the students’ names on the class page, and determine which of the students’ names are playable in Scrabble.
  2. Compose a response of one or more complete sentences that includes (1) the number of students with playable names, and (2) the first and last name of each student, followed by the section number in parentheses.
  3. Post your comment as a reply to this blog post.
  4. To post your comment, click the title of the post, “What’s in a Name. . . . ,” then scroll down to the bottom of the post. There you will see the image of an airmail envelope with a white rectangular box for your comment. Type your comment in the box and hit return. Voila! You have submitted your answer. Good luck!
Posted in Check, Please!, English 1103, Scrabble

ENG 1103: Let the Games Begin!

Yesterday in class, in preparation for our first Wordplay Day tomorrow, I offered an overview of Scrabble  and presented an example of the potential importance of tile placement by the first team to play. The first word of the game may be played horizontally or vertically, but one letter must be on the center double-word square. I projected the sample below, noting that it was a valid first play but not the best option. Why, I asked, would the first team profit from a different choice?

The image that follows illustrates the benefits of placing the a, rather than the r, on the center square. With the r on the center square, zebra is simply a double word-scoring play for a total of thirty-two points. If, instead, the team places the a on the center square, zebra is a double word-scoring play with z on a double letter square for a total of fifty-two points, twenty more than the team would have gained by placing the r on the center square.

Imagine that early in your Scrabble game, the seven tiles on your rack are I-U-K-L-N-R-blank. If the q hasn’t been played yet, you would be wise to hold onto the u. There are only four in bag. If you play your u, and don’t draw another one but draw the q, it will be difficult to play the q since there are only a few words that contain a q that isn’t followed by a u.

Holding onto your blank is also a good idea. A blank has no point value, but it can be used as any letter. There are only two in the bag. Having one of the blanks late in the game may help you out of a tight spot or enable you to score high by playing the blank as a hook and forming more than one word.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. Early in your Scrabble game, if the seven tiles on your rack are I-U-K-L-N-R-blank, you may want to risk the chance of not drawing another u or blank. Playing the word lurking would be a Scrabble or a bingo, the terms for playing all seven of the tiles on your rack, which earns you fifty bonus points.


Next Up

Tomorrow, at the beginning of Wordplay Day, I will distribute the worksheet for your first Check , Please! assignment. If you are absent or misplace the copy you receive in class, you can download and print a copy from the link below, or download and print one from Blackboard. Your completed Check, Please! worksheet is due at the beginning of class on Monday, August 29.