Yesterday, I started my day as I always do by reading Doug Peterson‘s blog post. This post happened to be another one that he’s written about Wordle and other similar online word games. I was going to add a comment on his post, but instead, tweeted this reply.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the post that I wanted to write in response, and I think that I’m finally ready to write.
It took me a long time to get started with Wordle. I saw the never-ending tweets about it in my timeline, but every time that I searched to find out more, I never really understood how to play the game. Then during one of my weekly Zoom calls with my nephew in the States, he asked me if I played. I said, “No.” So he explained how it worked and convinced me to give it a try. This seemed like something else that we could chat about each week, so how could I refuse?!
At first, I stuck with just playing Wordle. I never started with the same word, and tended to use words with lots of S’s and T’s in them instead of worrying about vowels. S’s and T’s are common letters in words, or so it seemed to me. Then somebody told me about beginning with arise because of the three vowels. This made sense to me, so I’ve stuck with this word. I tried adieu a couple of times, but I usually have more luck with arise. As someone who loves to read and loves playing with words, I actually have a lot of fun with this game. I’ve never gotten the answer in one, but occasionally have managed to do so in two guesses — this is very exciting for me. Four is more of the norm for me though, as I tend to get caught up in the word family rabbit hole, and I always choose the wrong letter combinations … or so it seems. My mom, who also started playing Wordle thanks to my nephew, is better at waiting, thinking, and returning to the game. I’m not. I’m committed to coming up with an answer before I read Doug Peterson’s blog post at 5:01 each morning. This means that all of my guessing is happening pre-coffee and usually before 4:30 am. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that I don’t have a very long success streak, but each time, I get a little better.
Doug also tweeted about Wordle 2, which has now become Word Hurdle, and is my second word game of the morning. There are a lot of Word Hurdle game options. I stick with the six-letter word one, but sometimes, I go back and do the four- and five-letter ones. It depends on how much I can do before 5:01 am. 🙂 Knowing that arise works well as a starter word in Wordle, I use arisen as my Wordle 2 word. Then depending on how the vowels work out, I try to come up with an OU word for my second guess. Sometimes I need to guess an answer that I know is incorrect, just to uncover more letters for a correct guess. I’ve started also guessing words that end in a Y or that include a W or V because these are always the letters that trick me. With a second Wordle choice, if I’m stumped on the original Wordle, I can leave it for a bit, open a new tab, and try Word Hurdle.
Then I do Byrdle. I can’t remember which person that I follow shared this one, but now I’m hooked. This is the surprising one for me, as I know absolutely nothing about choral music. Usually I need to Google search what the word each day means, but shockingly, I often uncover the correct word in less guesses than Wordle. My starter guess for this one had to change, as now it’s six letters. I used to always use choir. As I’m writing this post, I’m asking myself why I didn’t think of choirs for my new guess, but I didn’t. Instead, I use string. This guess will never be a winning one, but strangely always uncovers just the right number of letters to help me win. Then I also use an OU guess second, depending on how many vowels I find. This game is all about guessing, checking, hoping and praying for me, but it’s still a favourite of mine.
Thanks again to Doug, I also learned about Canuckle. It’s a Canadian edition, and I quite enjoy it. I use maple as my first guess, and it’s either really good for me or leads to finding no letters. Then I use a word like sound next, and hope for the best. I often reflect that I need to think more Canadian, and then I would get the word earlier. This is usually another four- or five-guess game for me, but I usually manage to uncover the word within the six guesses, which makes me happy enough.
While Canuckle is the end of my word games, I can’t resist some math games as well. My sister, whose background is in bio-statistics, introduced me to Nerdle. I then found Mini-Nerdle and usually do it first. It’s one of my favourite games, and I’ve even gotten it in one guess a couple of times. I first started with 5+7=12, but when that was a solution, I changed it to 5X8=40. I probably should go back to addition or subtraction, as multiplication is not as common with this game, but I feel like sticking it out. Depending on the purple squares, I adjust my answer accordingly. Usually I can get the answer in 2 or 3 guesses, which makes Mini-Nerdle my best game yet. Nerdle for me usually requires four or five guesses, depending on what my initial addition response uncovers. I never start with the same guess for Nerdle, but I always start with addition. Sometimes Nerdle involves multiple operations, negative numbers, and decimals, so my brain seems to be stretched the most with this game. Did I mention that this is all pre-coffee?! 🙂 I still get so happy when I solve it though.
Needless to say, my Wordle experience which extended to many more games than that, tends to have me up at 4:20 each morning, but I’m okay with that. I like getting my mind moving. It also made me reflect on the classroom. Every day, when my duty begins at 9:00, our students come into the room, and Paula greets them. This started at the beginning of the year, with a need to separate cohorts, and it’s continued since then. Since this is before instructional time begins, and students are just getting settled into the room and unpacking, we usually put on Alphablocks. Students love to read the words and tell the stories that they’ve seen so many times before. Slowly though, our morning routine evolved, as the Fairies of Dundas left students notes for water, chalk, and other supplies that they put out each day. Paula started to support some small group reading, as a handful of kids rushed inside to read the notes. Then in the past couple of weeks, we’ve left out some books on the ledge to align with provocations for the day. Now other students are selecting books to read and talk about together. Sometimes the Fairies of Dundas leave other notes around the room, so kids read and discuss them. This week, a few students have started drawing and writing. As I looked back at these posts from recently and thought about Doug’s blog post, I had an epiphany: we all need different ways to settle into the day and get our minds moving.
I love how kids are deciding what works for them. Just as my morning Wordle routine has slowly evolved, so has this morning entry routine. Will it evolve even more? What have you noticed might get minds moving, kids thinking, and students ready for the day? Our students might not be ready to tackle Wordle yet, but they are definitely developing their own options that work for them.