Wordle game makes word waves at U-High

Audrey Matei, Content Manager

Two students play the daily Wordle puzzle side-by-side. Wordle is a web app game that gives users six chances to guess a new five letter word everyday. The game’s competitive and collective nature has made it a smash-hit among U-High students and teachers. (Patrice Graham)

During an in-class work day for a 5th period Spanish class, students fill the room sitting at their desks, computers open. Some work on their Spanish while others do homework for another class. Some talk to the person in the desk next to them, while others idly stare at their screens. 

Computer screens display text messages, emails, shopping carts and Schoology pages, but in one corner of the room, a group of students’ screens show squares of gray, bright green and yellow. They clamor at their computer screens with one student shouting “Don’t Spoil it! Don’t Spoil it!” as they each try to be first to correctly guess the five-letter word of the day in the game Wordle.

Wordle has gained immense popularity among U-High students because of its competitive-yet-communal nature and challenging puzzles.

The Wordle website issues a new word every day. Players have six chances to guess a five-letter word, and each guess reveals clues about which letters are in the answer. A green letter means a player’s guess is in the correct position. If the letter is in the day’s word but in the wrong position, it turns yellow, and if the letter is not in the word, the tile turns dark grey. 

Because the word is the same for everyone, the game creates an element of community.

Junior Jacob de Jong has been playing Wordle for about a month and introduced it to some of his friends.

“We challenge each other to see who can get it first,” he said, explaining how he plays it with his friends. “We definitely dig into each other’s skin a little.”

We challenge each other to see who can get it first. We definitely dig into each other’s skin a little.

— Jacob de Jong

The game is also making its way around the school in classrooms.

English Teacher Ian Taylor has been playing The New York Times Spelling Bee game for a year and a half and recently was introduced to Wordle through social media and his students.

“I started sharing it with my seventh grade daughter and my advisory. We talked about it with the department here. I think a lot of us are playing,” he said, gesturing to the other English teachers in the English office.

A third period Spanish class played a variation of the game in Spanish as a class warmup. 

Sophomore Mary Bridget Molony was introduced to the game during that class. 

“I had heard some people talking about it in class,” she said. “It ended up being super fun.”  

Players also enjoy the puzzle aspect of the game.

Jacob said he uses a specific strategy to ensure optimal use of each turn.

“I usually guess two words with the most-used letters, so I guess ‘notes’ and ‘audio,’” he said. 

Mr. Taylor explained that for him, the challenging nature of the puzzle is a big part of its appeal. 

He said, “I like the buzz of the game and how the kids can do it together and compare it.”