Common Sense Review
Updated March 2012

Vocabador

Kids wrestle challenging words in fun, fighting-themed SAT-prep game
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • Vocab Training mode reviews words with flashcards.
  • Definitions include pronounication, synonyms, antonyms and a sample sentence.
  • Vocab Challenge gives 90 seconds to identify 12 words in each round.
  • Players are knocked out of the round after four incorrect answers.
Pros
Extensive word lists and multiple rounds of play against multiple opponents keep kids challenged.
Cons
Fighting theme might put off teachers and some students.
Bottom Line
Tournament-style play motivates kids to stick with vocab practice.
Amanda Bindel
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Vocabador, despite some violence, is a fun vocabulary tool that uses a nontraditional theme to reach kids who might otherwise avoid studying vocabulary.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

The app focuses on memorization using flashcards, self-assessment, and repetition. Kids work quickly against a timer, and the level of words and the question format transfer well to prepare kids for those tests.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Extensive instructions are provided. The Mexican wrestling theme and partial use of Spanish extends the cross-cultural appeal.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Use Vocabador as a daily vocabulary practice to prepare students for the SAT/ACT. The Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) theme with sound effects and multiple wrestler challengers is likely to appeal to reluctant vocab learners. Since those same themes may turn off some students, however, Vocabador is best used as one choice offered to kids for vocabulary practice. Consider giving students a choice of apps like Vocabador, SAT Word Slam, and SAT Vocab - MindSnacks for one round (or 10 minutes) of vocab building a day.

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What's It Like?

Mexican wrestling, known as Lucha Libra, is the inspiration for Vocabador. Students start with Vocab Training, where they choose a weight class (lightweight, middleweight, or heavyweight) and review flashcards of vocabulary words with the word on one side and a definition, example sentence, synonyms, antonyms, part of speech, and audio pronunciation on the other. In Vocab Challenge, students choose their weight class and opponent and then "get in the ring." They can also review the words they'll be quizzed on through the "sneak peak" option. In the ring, each round is 90 seconds, and only four punches (or incorrect answers) are allowed. Once students defeat all three opponents in every weight class, they can battle the Vocabador to win the championship. Students choose a name for their wrestler and pick a mask, adding to the fun of the theme.

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Is It Good For Learning?

The 400-plus word list is filled with excellent SAT prep words in three categories of challenge: lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. Don't assume that lightweight words aren't challenging; even those little guys pack a punch with words like pretentious, raucous, and urbane. Heavyweight words include alacrity, antediluvian, and vitriolic. The word list is first-rate, and the flashcard definitions are easy to understand. The synonyms and antonyms included for each word transfer well for kids preparing for the SAT, and the depth of understanding students get from the usage-example sentences will help them integrate the words into their own vocabulary. Students can flag words that need more review. With four wrestling opponents in three weight classes quizzing students on 36 words each, Vocabador can challenge and engage students for multiple rounds of play. The wrestling theme isn't baked into the lessons but just serves as a way to gamify vocabulary practice. It's sure to draw in some kids, but teachers may not be as comfortable with the violence involved.

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See how teachers are using Vocabador