March 28, 2012
While researching Shift 6 of the Common Core, Academic Vocabulary, I found this great website, www.freerice.com. The Free Rice website is a fun, yes you read right, fun vocabulary quiz that helps provide rice to starving children. It is fun, because each correct response earns you a more challenging question. Each incorrect response earns you an easier question. Each time you answer the question correctly, you earn ten grains of rice to be donated to someone who is hungry. (The rice is paid for by the advertising sponsors of the site.)
For a teacher, it is easy to see that the inherent differentiation of instruction in this game, will level the playing field for students. Students get the level of vocabulary that their game performance indicates. While some of the assessment will be anecdotal based on the teacher's observation of students playing the game, the students' scores should provide some useful data for the teacher. The score indicates the level the child is working on, and the number of grains of rice the child has earned for correctly answering questions at that level. Finally, the game should serve as a reminder to students to read all choices carefully before making a selection, a good test-taking strategy as we approach the state assessments.
Happy reading and gaming,