Everyone knows that this is back-to-school season for educators and students. But did you know that it's also preseason for the Vocabulary Bowl? That means it's time to start thinking about the annual word-learning competition, which allows students at your school to compete among thousands of schools across North America for "word domination".

The Bowl was an enormous success last year, with competition firing up word-learning and driving stats into the stratosphere. 23,804 schools competing. 582,785 students playing. 14,108,105 words mastered! This year's competition is poised to be even more impressive, not just in terms of numbers but by the immeasurable amounts of enthusiasm, pride and achievement experienced by students everywhere as they push themselves to achieve academic goals that they never thought possible.

With the 2016-17 Vocabulary Bowl kicking off on October 1 and running through April 30, now's the time to get ready.

Here are some preseason essentials:

  1. If you haven't already, now is a great time to join the nationwide competition by selecting and registering your school.
  2. Create classes and invite students now so that you're all set before the official season begins. Follow up to be sure that your students joined, and you'll be ready to roll on day one.
  3. Want an attention-grabbing but substantive activity for a class that could use a little bit of excitement? Take ten minutes to show students how to play the Challenge, our adaptive and engaging vocabulary game that awards students achievements and gives them feedback while they're learning. Fair warning: it might be hard to get some students to stop playing!
  4. As you're planning your lessons for next week, spend a few minutes searching for a premade list, then assign it. Maybe you're in need of a new resource for some traditional literature, or your students will be tackling one of the foundational primary documents in history. We've got activities for those, but did you know that we also have premade lists for pop-culture topics like album releases and best-sellers? How about current events, politics, and popular speeches?
  5. Involve your students in setting goals. Whether it's setting your sights on a daily or monthly leaderboard Top Ten finish, 100% completion of an assignment, or another angle to the competition such as improving your school's Overall Leaderboard standing by 10 positions, there are so many ways to inspire learning with friendly competition. Get your students involved in setting Bowl goals, then work together to achieve them.