Have you ever felt disheartened by your students’ limited vocabulary? Maybe you teach literature and find it frustrating to witness your students pause every 30 seconds when it’s reading time, only to mispronounce words. Or, maybe you’re a science teacher that dislikes the excess of colloquialism incorporated in young people’s vocabulary. Well, luckily, there are a myriad of apps nowadays that can make learning new words a fun experience that anyone can digest. In this article, I will show you how to use Merriam-Webster’s Game-Based Learning app features to create an engaging learning experience for your students. Download the Merriam-Webster app on your smartphone, and we'll walk through how to use it right now in this very blog post. When we're done you'll know exactly how to navigate the app and craft assignments for your students on the platform.

7 Steps to Expanding Your Students Vocab

1) Download the App - Before you start diving into the actual assignment, you need to get your students accustomed to the platform – due to this generation’s tech savviness, this may actually take a couple of minutes. Just like you would explain a project before assigning it, you want to establish the general guidelines and make sure everyone is on the same page. Direct your students to their smartphone’s app store and have them download the Merriam-Webster app.


2) Word Games - After you've made sure all your students are able to access the app, have them go to Games > Word Games > How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?, and have them start with the “light” difficulty level.

3) Word Quiz - Next, have them take the “How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?” quiz in unison. The quiz is short and moves from one word to the next very quickly (kind of like a lighting round of questions) so cheating is not really a concern here.

4) Screenshot Results - Once the quiz is finished, your students should get their results. By selecting “review results”, they can see the words that they defined incorrectly, along with the correct definition for those words. Have them take a screenshot of the results.

5) Annotate & Submit - Then, using their smartphone’s markup tools, have them write their name & current date, and have them send their work to either your email address, LMS, or class webpage.

6) Personalized Quizzes - Finally, after a couple of days have passed, call on each student individually, pull up the screenshots from their previous attempt and quiz them on the words they got.

7) Repeat the Following Week - Last, but certainly not least, practice leads to mastery so try implementing this exercise on a weekly basis. We recommend collecting your students’ results early in the week so that you can quiz them at the end of the week.

Now, you're ready to introduce this exercise to your class and start expanding your student’s vocabulary. After a couple of quizzes, you should start seeing the effects on your students. Remember to reward your students with chocolate/candy (or anything else for that matter) when they pass on to the next difficulty. Have any other issues or questions you’d like resolved? Make sure to leave them on the comment section below. In addition, you can ask us your questions any time on social media.