Have you caved to the Wordle craze yet? Curiosity of seeing those mysterious green and yellow squares everywhere finally got the best of me, and I’m so glad it did! Wordle word game makes me nostalgic for the Words with Friends era that I played a decade ago with my then boyfriend and now husband. Plus, any game that generates thinking, builds vocabulary, and supports spelling is a win for teachers.
In our book Keeping the Wonder: An Educator’s Guide to Magical, Engaging, and Joyful Learning, we talk about finding teaching inspiration from popular trends. Tapping into current pop culture can work wonders for classroom engagement, so I thought it would be fun to round up ways to use Wordle in the classroom.
3 Ways to use Wordle in the classroom:
Promote community with Wordle in the classroom
One reason Wordle has taken off is that it’s a global community building activity in a way. Everyone plays the same board and everyone must keep the secrets for the day.
Make your own Wordles: One of my online friends, and fellow Wordle player, shared a fun site that allows you to make your own Wordle board then share the link (make sure your school doesn’t block it!). She sent one to her college students with her Dog’s name just for fun. They loved it! You can watch her reel here: @ms.christinacosta Wordle Reel and access the Wordle maker here: Mywordle.me
Play Wordle as a group: I’ve also noticed other teachers using the official daily Wordle as a bellringer for the day. They report that it only takes a few minutes and is fun to all be working on the Wordle at the same time to see who can figure it out the quickest. I think this sounds like such a great classroom community builder, gamification element, and vocabulary builder.
Create kind Wordles: Lastly, for community building with Wordle in the classroom, it would also be really sweet to have students make Wordles for other students or teachers to spread kindness. For example, how cute would it be to make Wordles on Valentine’s Day with a positive 5 letter word for the recipient. Making Wordle valentines would be extra special because the inventor made this game for his partner, a word game lover. If you want a list of positive 5-letter words, grab it here (though I think requiring students to brainstorm words on their own is key to brain work, but perhaps you want to the list to make special Wordles for colleagues).
For example, I made a special Wordle for you here: Dear Educator, you are a : Play to find out!
Obviously, use this last idea with caution because it could easily go awry if students are unkind when making their own Wordles to send to others. If you are looking for more ELA Valentine’s Day activities, check out this post: Valentine’s Day Activities for High School and Middle School ELA Students
Build ELA skills with Wordle in the classroom
Using the make your own Wordle method mentioned above, you can tweak this to fit a number of lessons. For example, you or your students can create Wordles that reveal traits for various characters in books. They have to figure out the word first then be able to prove how it fits the character with textual evidence. Or, they have to gather textual evidence then make a fitting Wordle and see if classmates can get it.
If you want a list of 5-letter adjectives for this activity, you can grab it here: 5 Letter Words for Wordle in the Classroom
Other ideas include:
Vivid verbs – Do a series of Wordles that build vivid verb vocabulary. Here are some 5-letter verbs to replace “said” for example: utter, emote, cried, noted, jawed, piped, aired, swore, added, joked, gibed, asked.
Breakout activities – Use special vocabulary or characterization adjectives as a breakout task. For example, once they figure out the Wordle, they put it into a locked Google form or pass it to you to unlock the next task.
Vocabulary review – Round up all the 5 letter words you have studied and create a Wordle for each one. Give the definition then have students figure out the Wordle. Or, have them puzzle the Wordle then recite or review the definition.
Create poetry with Wordle in the classroom
This is another idea I came across on Instagram from @wonderingwithmrswatto , and I think it’s great! You will need to swipe through the slides on her post to get the assignment for how to create a Wordle poem, but in short, students brainstorm topics they want to write about and then a big list of 5 letter words that they can sort into a Wordle-ish poetry display. I made a teacher Wordle poem for you here:
For mine, I did 5 verbs then an adjective to end it. With this idea, you could set rules around your poetry assignment to incorporate grammar as well. If you want more digital poetry ideas, check out my blog post here: Teaching Poetry in Curriculum Context
Speaking of poetry, I’m updating this post because I recently discovered Prattle A word game from the Folger Shakespeare Library. It’s like Wordle except links correct words to how Shakespeare used them in his work! You or your students can challenge yourself with up to 11 letter words and see vocabulary in context. Such nerdy fun, haha!
I hope this Wordle in the classroom roundup inspires all you puzzlers to win by keeping the wonder for yourself and your students!