Choosing your words sensibly...
Wordle is an online word game and, over the past month, has taken the internet by storm. Josh Wardle developed the game in response to his companion's affection for word games. Now, just a few months after development, it is being played by millions worldwide and was most recently acquired by the NYTimes. Wordle is a word puzzle, and you have six chances to figure it out. The objective is to guess a five-letter word. It sure seems easy enough because five-letter words are common in English.Word Games Like Wordle and Mywordle Help Make Language More Accessible for Students Click To Tweet
Players are trying to figure out that one word out of the 12,000 plus words used in the Wordle word bank can seem like an intimidating task. But, for some, that is what makes it so fun. That would be amazing if you guessed the word on the first try! If not, you will be prompted by three green, yellow, or grey boxes. The green box will indicate that your letter is correctly within the word. A yellow box shows that you have the correct letter, but it is in the wrong place. Finally, the grey box indicates the letter is not in the word. After your first guess, you get to apply all the vocabulary skills you acquired in elementary school.
Wordle only posts one puzzle a day. Once you play, it's your choice if you want to share your results. The correct word will not show through. The results only show the number of times it took to figure out the word and your average. So, please remember to keep it a secret and try not to spoil the fun for others. It is a fun way to participate in some friendly competition with family and friends. My strategy has been to use words with vowel teams as my first guess and then move on from there. My advice is to take your time, yesterday I did, and I was successful on the sixth try. This morning I was too hasty to complete the game and share my results. As a result, I missed the correct word by one letter. So don't rush, and think about all you know about words and letter placement.
As a teacher, I can think of many reasons why Wordle would be beneficial in education. According to the National Institute for Literacy, "Vocabulary refers to the words we must know to communicate effectively." Building a solid vocabulary in early childhood education is critical to overall academic success. There have been many studies that have shown the benefits of word games. Using word games as learning tools for vocabulary expands oral language and increases student engagement and promotes a healthy learning environment. Playing word games has many benefits and helps readers work on skills of automaticity and fluency that ultimately lead to reading comprehension. An article featured in SWAAY also noted how "Playing word games can improve various brain functions like problem-solving, memory, cognition, and creativity."
Using Wordle in the classroom...
I was excited to try Wordle with my 3rd and 4th Graders, and it was a massive hit with the kids. A small number of students heard of Wordle but didn't have the opportunity to play it yet. It was so great to play with them for the first time. I introduced it as a whole class lesson, and the excitement for the game had some students out of their chairs, calling out their guesses. It was a very engaging and fun experience for them, and with the help of another teacher, we solved the puzzle on the fifth try. The word of the day was PLEAT.
Creative teachers can certainly incorporate Wordle into their daily lessons. For example, It can be used as a daily icebreaker in your morning meeting or for data analysis in math. In addition, it can also be used in your vocabulary, reading, and writing lessons. The possibilities are there. When planning, teachers should think about the standards and goals of the lesson, while thinking about their students' current vocabulary knowledge. For instance, Wordle may not be appropriate for students who are emergent readers. ELL students who have not acquired a vast number of words in their word bank would have trouble playing Wordle independently. Even though we want to challenge our students, sometimes making a task inaccessible shakes a student's confidence.
Differentiation with Mywordle...
Thankfully, it didn't take long for another gamer to come out with their spin on Wordle. Mywordle is based on the original Wordle but can customize the word or use a random word. You can also generate a link, which will allow you to send it to your students. Mywordle is an excellent resource for teachers because it would enable them to select appropriate words for their specific grade level and lesson. Mywordle allows you to make words of any length, giving teachers flexibility in word choice and making the game accessible to early childhood and ELL students. The great thing about Mywordle is it allows all students to be a part of the current Wordle craze. Teachers can use both Wordle and MyWordle in their lessons to show differentiation.
Having a choice in these types of word games is excellent for teachers who have diverse learners in their classrooms. It makes it easier to differentiate and reach all students in your class. If teachers want to add fun to their daily lessons and increase student engagement, I suggest incorporating Wordle and Mywordle. Both would undoubtedly enhance any lesson.
Anon, Word games that can benefit your mental health. Swaay. Available at: https://swaay.com/word-games-that-can-benefit-your-mental-health [Accessed February 6, 2022].
Anon, Put reading First 2006 - ed. Available at: https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/PRFbooklet.pdf [Accessed February 6, 2022].
Victor, D., 2022. Wordle is a Love story. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/03/technology/wordle-word-game-creator.html [Accessed February 6, 2022].