Chicktionary, and its new version, Chicktionary Coop, are vocabulary games in which students must make words from letters (with the help of some egg-bearing hens). It’s fun and challenging, and turns word learning into a game. Here’s a video of the game from YouTube.
How Chicktionary can support language learning
It’s a good way for students to apply and develop their knowledge of spelling patterns andmorphemes. For example, if the 7 letters include m, e and a, students might be able to make words like tame, came, lame, dame, game, same or fame, depending on what the other 4 letters are. Similarly, if one of the letters is an s, students can turn nouns into plurals and form third person singular verbs, and if they’re lucky enough to have an e and a d they might be able to make some past tense verbs. If you tell students these tips, they can get a much higher score in Chicktionary…and they will develop more awareness of words as well. Students can also get help by tapping ‘Beak Sneak‘, which gives them one letter in each word.
I’ve used this with my Teen 5 classes as a starter activity. Most seem quite enthusiastic about playing the game and enjoy the individual challenge the game entails. For lower level students, you could challenge them to create as many 3 letter words as possible.
How to play
In Chicktionary, players are given an egg rack, with slots for 3 letter, 4 letter, 5 letter, 6 letter and 7 letter words. Under the egg rack are 7 hens, each clutching a letter of the alphabet. When the player clicks on a hen, it drops its letter into an egg box below. Once the player thinks they have made a word in the egg box, they click on ‘enter’ and the word appears in the egg rack – as long as it is a real word, of course; if not, the hens squawk and take their eggs back.
There are two modes of play: in ‘speed play’, the player must make as many words as they can in 3 minutes; in ‘long play’ there is no time limit, but you can challenge yourself as to how many words you can create in the first two minutes.
Both Chicktionary and Chicktionary Coop are free but, as with many apps, there are in-app purchases to extend the number of puzzles available.
Thanks to Russell Mullaney at the British Council Ladprao for finding the app!