How I Use It
We used this as a center station during word work and reading time for our higher grade elementary students. Students can either choose the practice mode to focus on one skill or they can do the more challenging worlds, which will mix up the skills. For some of my students, I asked them to complete the practice skills first, and for my more advanced learners I had them practice the comprehensive skills. In order for students to earn real-life rewards (usually stickers, tattoos, pencils), they needed to earn three stars on each of the levels presented. Additionally, I asked my students to read these words aloud as they were completing this activity (usually to a partner) because they could match the words to the spelling patterns without hearing how they each sound. With our student population, it was important for them to put these pieces together (oral and reading) so that I was sure they weren't just finding word patterns that match (leading to a larger level of learning).
I liked the different levels it provided: easy, medium, hard, and expert, as well as the different skills students could practice (short & long vowels), r-controlled vowels, blends, digraphs, prefixes, and diphthongs. The gamification of these word patterns helped our students practice the easier word patterns that they weren't necessarily learning explicitly in the classroom. Some of the different parts of the game were challenging for my students who had a higher sensitivity to sensory input (there are three or four things you need to do at one time), but this is what made the game interesting to those learners who it was harder to engage. We will continue to use this game, as I think it's a great way to practice those word patterns. The only piece I wish were added (and I may have missed it from my end), was a piece that kept up with all student's gains and growth in one place. Each individual iPad will hold the data earned on that device. But if students are bringing their own devices or if they each have their own leased device from the school, a teacher would need to check each device to learn of growth, progress, etc. Try the light version to make sure it has the word skills you are hoping for your students to try (versus the primary grades).