At school, we are frequently looking for ways to enhance student vocabularies, and occasionally looking for diverting activities that pose as rewards but still serve the objectives of the learning day. And very often, the adults get caught up in the fun of learning as well. As it should be.
There are more than a few adults at our school who will willingly play Scrabble with kids. And more than a few that will log on side by side with students to Free Rice where correctly identifying the meaning of words will help to end world hunger. For each correct response, 10 grains of rice will be donated to United Nations humanitarian efforts to feed the needy globally. And the best part? It is adaptive meaning that when you answer a question correctly, the game moves you up a level. Or vice versa. You see your level at the bottom of your screen. Also, if you answer incorrectly, the correct response is supplied to you, and the same question will reappear a few turns later.
Another engaging but deceptively simple word game is Knoword. You play against the clock for points, and you can keep track of your progress should you choose to register and login. The first letter of a word appears in a box with a dictionary definition beneath. You type the word in and it progresses you along to the next question if you are correct. While not adaptive like Free Rice, you will have moments when you slap yourself in the head for not connecting to so simple an answer. An amusing reminder that intuitive approaches to language are all around. One senses what a word means, can decipher it contextually, but if called upon to explicitly state a definition... Well, that may be harder than foreseen.
Fun distractions. Or fun learning. Either way.