Friday, September 21, 2007

20% Increase

Last year I made vocabulary a focus in my English classroom, beyond the simple literary terms upon which we English teachers focus. I decided I was tired of 65% averages on quizzes. I figured I must be doing something wrong, so I used my Masters classes as a way to better my teaching (fancy that!). I even told the kids they were part of a study, which they enjoyed.

Here's what I do now.

Mondays (40 minutes)
1. The previous week's practice work turned in (puzzle and charts)
2. A vocabulary quiz over the previous week's words
3. A crossword puzzle with the new words (and the old ones)
4. A chart where students create sentences for the each new word
5. A chart where the students draw a picture for each new word

Wednesdays (15 minutes)
1. 3-5 students write their sentences and pictures on the board (each student gets a different word)

Thursdays (15 minutes)
1. 3-5 students write their sentences and pictures on the board (each student gets a different word)

Fridays (10 minutes)
1. Students brainstorm synonyms for the words
2. Synonyms listed on the board

Lastly, I have the students spell the words, match them to definitions, fill in blanks in sentences, compose sentences or stories, share their pictures and explain how they are appropriate, and more. I have some of the traditional quizzes, but I also try to mix it up a bit and the kids seem to appreciate it.

We get to practice the words, talk about them, connect them to images, apply new words to situations, and generally share ideas. It's great!

They also like the routine we've created because they see their immediate successes. Now averages range from 85-90% on the quizzes.

6 comments:

Mrs. Chili said...

Wowie. Can't argue with THOSE numbers!

I need to figure out how to teach vocabulary to my community college students - I find their communication skills are severely hampered by their limited word choices...

b said...

Wow, good ideas! I'm going to borrow some of them when reviewing for vocab quizzes. Thanks :)

DrPezz said...

At the end of a unit, these practices lend themselves well to a review game of Pictionary. It's fun. :)

DrPezz said...

The 20% increase has been consistent from week one. As soon as I changed my system, scores rose immediately.

ms. whatsit said...

Have you tried word sorts as part of vocabulary study? I find that using manipulatives really helps some kids, you know, the ones who consistently score 65%. I highly recommend Words Their Way if you haven't yet read it.

DrPezz said...

I will check the book out. Thanks!

I do use some of the word sorts for certain sections of our vocabulary lists. Still, I could probably do a better job.