I’ve always been jealous of social studies teachers and the games available to them. One game I especially envy: the global draft game, where students draft countries and then compete by the number of mentions or hits the country gets each week on Google.

How could I exploit this for ELA usage? After much pondering, I decided a draft-based game would work best with vocabulary, where teams could draft words that they liked best.

However, we couldn’t just run the words through the Google stats and see how many hits they get–not much learning there. Instead, I modified the game by presenting a key word, such as “mathematics” or “Fortnite” and asking each team to select a vocabulary word that they’d drafted to pair with that word. Then I typed in the key word and their chosen word. The vocab word that earned the most number of hits with that key word–wins!

At first, my students were skeptical. But once that first round was over, the energy built. Several classes commented at the end how we should definitely play that game again.

Here is what I love about the game:

  1. Students have to talk about the words before they draft them. This means they have to not only know the meanings but also consider the various contexts the words could be used.
  2. During the game, students make more connections between the key word and their own drafted words.
  3. Just the right amount of luck is needed. While knowledge of the word is helpful, sometimes another team simply has a better word with more hits. I witnessed many examples of teams gaining a lead but then falling behind. This level of luck led to that magical “flow” that kept students involved the entire game.


This is the slide deck I built for the first time we played the game.