Letterpress, a fun and addictive game for iOS has been very popular in indie-developer circles and appears to be single-handedly responsible for completely destroying the Game Center servers. It might be causing Apple Server engineers to lose sleep but my classroom of nine and ten year olds absolutely love it.
Essentially Letterpress is a strategic word game, where players have to make words from a letter board. It's competitive and can be used to teach vowel and letter blends, suffixes and prefixes.
I introduced it as a whole class activity, with Game Center set up on one of our classroom iPads which was AirPlay mirrored to an AppleTV connected to our projector. It was Team 13 vs. their all knowing teacher (I played on my phone).
I'm impressed. I used to think that I was good at this game (well, until I started playing my wife anyway), but right now Team 13 is destroying me. The coup de grâce came when Jaedyn suggested Penumbras. Jaedyn is 9.
Yes, a lot of the fun in the game can include picking words that are inappropriate for the school environment; but set clear boundaries and expect the same propriety in written language as you would in the verbal. My next step will be to set up a couple Game Center accounts for my class so that learners can play against one another during literacy choosing time.
If your pride can handle it try Letterpress with your class. It's free with an optional 99c in-app purchase, which you don't need for classroom use. Although, that 99 cent purchase is a great way of saying thanks to the developer if your class loves Letterpress as much as mine.