Skip to main content

Using "Words With Friends" In The Classroom

Words With Friends on iPhone.

Words With Friends on iPhone.

Learning Through Games

I have been a big fan of using games in my classrooms for as long as I have been teaching. In my opinion, games put the FUN back into learning for students of all ages. The adult learners I work with love to finish off the day with a game and I have used this to my advantage. They often play Scrabble or a card game called Quiddler and I have used these games to improve their spelling and numeracy skills. To participate in Scrabble I bend the rules a little and they can use dictionaries, either hardcopy or online, and spellcheckers to help them build words. Their numeracy skills also get a look-in because they have to score. Here calculators are banned, it's all "mental arithmetic" and their basic number skills have improved in addition and multiplication.

On this occasion I'm only looking at using the digital game - "Words With Friends". I have been playing this game on my iPhone & iPad for a number of months and love the challenges it has to offer. If you don't know this game, it is an abbreviated version of Scrabble. When I was introduced to "Words With Friends" my interest and enjoyment was instantaneous and I saw possibilities for how my students could use this FREE App both in class or in their own time.

Getting Started With Use Words With Friends

Not only is Words With Friends FREE, you can download both an Apple or Android version, (Androids are Smartphones other than iPhone.), or use Facebook to access the game. The most annoying aspect of the free version is the advertising. It costs $2.99US to upgrade and get rid of the pesky ads. There are only two players per game in this version which means turns are fairly frequent.

  1. Register - If you or your class haven't registered with iTunes, Facebook or an Android shop, then this is the first point of call.
  2. Download the FREE version to your mobile/cell phone or iPad. If using Facebook just log on and search for the game.
  3. Play time! - After all class members have registered, record their player names and distribute to class. Learners select their playing partner and send an online request, via the game. It also helps if you create a playing roster.
  4. Playing the game - Just like Scrabble each player has seven letters to begin the game. One letter of the first word must be on the star in the middle of the screen/board. Touch the letters and drag them to the square you want and touch the PLAY button and the game does the rest. Scores are automatically calculated and each player is notified when it is their turn.

Rack letters and search options

Rack letters and search options

Results from search

Results from search


In The Classroom

This is not a definative list of ways to use Words With Friends in the classroom. It is more like a kickstart list for you to engage your students in an interactive learning activity.

  1. To assist those in your class or group who require a moderate to high level of assistance with their spelling, use the Words With Friends Cheat web site. Players enter the rack of letters and click the search button. When using this option it would be a good idea to have your students record and find the meaning of words they use. Cheating may pay off in this case.
  2. Numeracy activities -
    > record scores from top 5 or 10 words and graph;
    > rank scores from highest to lowest;
    > find the mean, mode and median of the scores from a set number of games;
    > graph results for individuals e.g. number of games won, words with a score greater than 10, longest words;
    > finding the difference between the highest & lowest scores;
    > frequency of letters and/or words that are used in games (do this by leaners prediciting when a given letter etc will appear and taking a screen shot); and,
    > recording the number of times a given letter or nominated letters occur in a hand.
  3. Literacy activities -
    > Read instructions and develop a flowchart to show a graphical set of instructions.
    Students (individually or in small groups) develop a survey about aspects of the game e.g. times played, level of enjoyment.
    > Survey is undertaken by class members and results are presented to class.
    > Students write an email or letter to the developers expressing their opinion of the game. It is good to include any suggestions they may have to improve the game.
    > Learners can write an online or handwritten review and include a rating system.
    > Strategies are recorded and discussed by class or groups.
    > Use words to create sentences.
    > Record the rack of letters a couple of times throughout the game. Students make as many words as they can using these letters.
    > Record words used by both players during a game. Again a simple screen shot will help with this activity. Both players list all the words and highlight those words they know. Words they are unsure of or don't know they use a dictionary to find the meaning. I have always liked to use The Free Dictionary online to assist with pronunciation or WordWeb if it has been downloaded onto class computers.
    > Develop word families from the list of words by using prefixes and suffixes.
    > Learners Tweet the word and meaning.

I now prefer to play this game over the Scrabble boardgame because of the ease of access and opponents I encounter. If playing outside the classroom, a player can begin a game and have an anonymous opponent take up the challenge. Words With Friends is a FUN way to learn and I would love to hear if you have already or are thinking of using this learning tool in your classroom.

MazioCreate develops literacy and numeracy activities. Find out more at


Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 29, 2012:

I always admire teachers who love what they do and more especially teachers like you who spend time, money and energy to be creative. This sounds like fun and I applaud you for sharing.

MazioCreate (author) from Brisbane Queensland Australia on July 29, 2012:

Scroll to Continue

It's funny how many teachers steer away from using games to reinforce or even teach a concept. I know I am always engaged and learn faster when there is a fun element to an activity. Hopefully other teachers will read and share this hub.

Mary Craig from New York on July 29, 2012:

I'm hoping lots of teachers read this so they can learn about Words With Friends. Anything that can be used in the classroom to keep students interested while they are learning should be on the top of the list!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Ann Carr from SW England on June 02, 2012:

Voted up & useful. I didn't know about this. Fun is definitely the key to good teaching and I'm so glad you ban calculators for this!

MazioCreate (author) from Brisbane Queensland Australia on May 21, 2012:

Thanks anginwu for your comments. My students have a ball and have developed some amazing strategies along with learning new skills.

anglnwu on May 21, 2012:

What a neat way to teach--using games. Very innovative and I'm sure your students are happily looking forward to class--a definite plus.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 19, 2012:

Oh wow, this app sounds great!! Thanks for sharing.

MazioCreate (author) from Brisbane Queensland Australia on May 18, 2012:

You're welcome teaches12345. If you come up with other activities using this APP please let me know. Thanks!

Dianna Mendez on May 18, 2012:

I saw this app and wondered if it was worth getting. I see that is is very popular and a great learning experience. Thanks for the information on this one.

Related Articles