Common Sense Review
Updated September 2013

Word Joust for 6-8

Short quests, fun games engage kids in learning vocab
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Before beginning each quest, kids review five words and definitions.
  • Hangman tests spelling skills.
  • Some games have kids match definitions to words; others involve matching words to definition.
  • Stats shows time spent on quest, scores, and links to word lists.
Pros
Words come from grade-appropriate literature.
Cons
Vocab learned in isolation may not transfer into usage.
Bottom Line
Good tool for building general vocabulary.
Amanda Bindel
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The quest theme draws kids in. Fun games keep them playing.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Encountering the words in different games helps solidify learning, but memorizing the same definition for each encounter does not give much depth or transfer knowledge.

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

Games are intuitive, so not much help is needed. Excellent data tracking of words mastered and words still being learned ("apprenticed"), as well as of times and scores.

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

There are no separate user accounts, so Word Joust for 6-8 is best used one-on-one. Since teachers and kids can't create custom lists, Word Joust for 6-8 could be used as a warm-up activity for other word-building exercises. The general word lists would be great for ELL/ESL classes.

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What's It Like?

Kids become knaves in a medieval joust where they can enter quests and learn vocabulary from a list of 3,000 age-appropriate words, or train by playing games with the words they've encountered in their quests. Each quest includes five unrelated words. Kids spend a moment studying each word and definition and are then tested by playing one of the games. Points decrease as time goes by, with fast, correct responses earning 15 points and slower responses earning fewer points, down to 5. Incorrect answers don't get a second chance.

Games include "Scramble" (unscrambling mixed-up words), "Troll Trickery" (matching word to definition), "Labyrinth of Letters" (a word search that is quite challenging), "Cohorts of Swords" (identifying the correct word as it crosses the screen), and "Hangman," which is played with a cartoon man being hung rather than a stick figure. In Training mode, kids can choose which game to play to practice words from their quest lists. Kids move up from infantryman to archer and so on. Mastered words and apprenticed words (those introduced but not yet mastered in the games) can be reviewed in Stats, and there's also a Global Leaderboard.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Word Joust for 6-8 is a fun way for kids to practice word skills and develop their vocabularies. The mix of five games is varied enough that kids can practice different skills and use their brains in different ways. The words and definitions reflect varied meanings that could be encountered in young adult literature. The short quests should easily hold preteen attention spans, and the increasing difficulty of words as kids master more quests will keep them challenged.

Kids will master words such as alligator, guitar, sympathy, correctly, and emperor. In some of the games, kids have to spell the words after seeing only the definition, which will improve spelling as well as vocabulary.

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