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Students could play this game collaboratively to work together on spelling and creative skill building. It also provides lots of opportunities for storytelling, for discussions about probability (for example, if I use the lantern now, what are the chances I'm going to need it even more later?), and for creating their own gameplay. Teachers should keep in mind that there's some potential for objectionable content in the game. For example, a quick way to get the letter A is to create a stork and have it drop babies that you can kill for the vowels.Continue reading Show less
You open your eyes and find yourself alone on a deserted island. You're naked, with only your fists to defend yourself. If you want to survive, you'd better start hitting something to get the resources you need. Sound like Minecraft? It's actually Quest of the Wordsmith, and the concept is similar -- except instead of mining resources, you're mining letters. The first thing most players will do is attack the rat. When you defeat it, it dissolves into the letters that allow you to spell its name -- R, A, and T. As you defeat other creatures, you collect more letters. When you have enough letters to spell a word, you can make that object. For example, if you spell PANTS, you can clothe yourself. The game is open ended, so the goal is really just to travel around, explore, build things, and defeat monsters.
An interesting twist to Quest of the Wordsmith you don't see in similar games is that you can only use each word once. That means when night falls and you've already created a fire, a lantern, and a light, you're going to have to get creative about what to use for light this time. Could a star light your way? Would the sun transform the darkness into day? In this way, the game moves from simple spelling mechanics to something that increases vocabulary, makes students think about synonyms, and involves a lot of higher-order thinking. The only frustration is the game's limited lexicon: Students will probably be frustrated when they type in words only to find they don't exist. This is to be expected though as Quest of the Wordsmith is still in development.
Key Standards Supported
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at home that are cozy).
Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage → badge; boy → boil).
Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe foods that are spicy or juicy).
Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns.
Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe people who are friendly or helpful).
Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.
Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.*
Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, homographs) to better understand each of the words.
Maintain consistency in style and tone.
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).
Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Interpret figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context.
Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., cause/effect, part/whole, item/category) to better understand each of the words.
Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, unwasteful, thrifty).
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
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