Student-Driven Vocabulary

Student DrivenVocabulary Lists can be very inspiring. Check this out. This has also been called Vocabulary Self-Collected Strategy. As far as classroom pedagogy, fortunately for me, I’ve been using the strategy since about 1999 – that’s when I started professionally teaching – so I’m not going to credit the guy who coined the term. And I have been using it for my own personal growth for as far back as I can remember. So, I guess I feel like I own it. What you see below is how I have made my strategy work in the classroom.

  • Week 1
    • Monday – List Generation & Online Voting
    • Tuesday – Posts & Posters go up . . . & VISS & Artifacts begin
    • Wednesday – Share information, Study words 1,2,3,4
    • Thursday – Share information, Study words 5,6,7,8
    • Friday – VISS Charts DUE, Study words 9,10
  • Week 2
    • Monday – Share Information, Study 1,2,3,4
    • Tuesday – Artifacts DUE, Study 5,6,7,8
    • Wednesday – Share information, Study 9,10
    • Thursday – Share information, REVIEW ENTIRE LIST 1-10
    • Friday – TEST DAY

Week 1 – List Generation & Information Sharing & Studying

WEEK 1 – Monday-Tuesday: List Generation

  • During D.E.A.R. time, (while reading a personal Novel, Magazine Articles, textbook, etc..), each individual student will generate one word from his/her reading. If you have several groups of students all reading different texts, then you have the makings of a truly differentiated atmosphere.
  • A selected term should be a word you think a teacher might have chosen to include on a vocabulary list. A selected term should NOT be too specialized. We are looking for words that are generally useful to a High School student. As the teacher, my job is to be the consultative specialist, if you will, advising groups or individuals on the words they want to ask about. I will move from group to group to see what words they are considering. Ultimately, a group of four will have four words to choose from.
  • The group will offer one word (from the four) to be considered for the class vocabulary list. The number of words in the end will vary on a class-by-class basis. I generally do not allow the possible list go over 25 words.
  • By the end of the day Tuesday only ten words will remain to make up the master list for the cycle.

WEEK 1 – Wednesday-Friday: Information Sharing

  • A Word Wall is populated with posters prepared by those people whose words make the final cut, or by members of the group the term came from.
  • Additionally, the same information is posted to this website in a discussion for the master list.
  • The following information must be included on the poster and the post to the discussion:
    • Sentence from the text, properly cited, in which the word appears with the word underlined (Book, Magazine, and/or Article Title, Author, Page #)
    • Part of Speech (as used in the sentence)
    • Graphic representation that relates to the definition and/or sentence (Poster only)
    • Dictionary definition (as used in the sentence)
    • Other forms of the word (and correlated parts of speech)

Week 1 HW – (DUE FRIDAY of the 1st week) – Students are always required to prepare Vocabulary Improvement Strategy Sheets (VISS) for any new vocabulary list. The VISS is a four column chart with the following headings: Word, Personal Clue, Sentence from Text, Definition. Get a copy of the form below.

Vocabulary Resources – Charts for your convenience.

Your VISS Charts include the following information:

  • Column 1 – Word – the word spelled as it is used in the sentence and the part of speech
  • Column 2 – Personal Clue – synonyms, the word in another language, other forms of the word, a drawing, antonyms . . . anything that will remind you, yes you, of the definition. This column makes it personal.
  • Column 3 – Sentence from the Text – the actual sentence from the actual text that you actually saw the actual word in. DO NOT CREATE YOUR OWN SENTENCE FOR THIS.
  • Column 4 – Definition – The dictionary definition that matches the use of the word in the sentence you found the word in.

TWO Week HW Study Schedule – Study 3 new words every night. Go ahead, take the weekend off. Then in the second week, quickly review all the words each night. Follow the schedule below.

  • Alternative Study Schedule
    • Tuesday Night 1 – 3 words
    • Wednesday Night 2 – 6 words
    • Thursday Night 3 – 9 words
    • Friday Night 4 – 12 words

Week 2 – Information Sharing, Studying & Testing

WEEK 2 – Monday-Thursday: Word/Concept Varied Use Exposure – As part of the Warm-Up or other brief portion of class, expose students to other sentences in which the words are used properly. Use published sources where possible. Discuss the word’s use and what it means in the context of the sentence presented. Include figurative language examples. Allow 10-20 minutes for this.

WEEK 2 – Tuesday – Have students vote to select the 10words to be tested. I use Survey Monkey to run the voting.

  • WEEK 2 Alternative Study Schedule
    • Monday Night 5 –  words 1,2,3,4
    • Tuesday Night 5 – words 4,5,6,7
    • Wednesday Night 5 – words 7,8,9,10
    • Thursday Night 5 – REVIEW ALL WORDS

Week 2 HW – (DUE WEDNESDAY) – Prepare something to show you have been working with the words AND THE DEFINITIONS. Prepare more than 1 item and I will double, triple, quadruple (Yes, you read it here – QUADRUPLE.) your grade. Admit it, it can’t hurt to have the occasional grade quadrupled.  You could . . .

  • View the page and sub pages – FINAL Project OPTIONS and/or . . .
  • Check out my RUBRICS on the Essential Documents page for ideas.
  • Write a story with the words used properly (include context clues to definitions).
  • Write a song (any genre) with the words and definitions in it.
  • Create a flip study book. This could include the sentences from the text, the definition, personal clues. But it could also include other sample sentences that are in other published sources.
  • Make flash cards (real or virtual – iPhone App, Android Apps, Dictionary.com)
  • Create a memory game.
  • Create LINGO (TM) cards (with a Words & Definitions reference page).
  • Create You’ve Been Sentenced (TM) cards (with a Words & Definitions reference page).
  • Create a crossword with the definitions as the clues (blank game and Answer Key required).
  • Create a word search with the definitions as clues (blank game and Answer Key required).
  • Create a JUMBLE (blank game and Answer Key required).
  • The list goes on, and on, and on – Here’s a neat page you could use – WordLearner.com .

Thursday: Information Sharing – Students are to bring to class whatever they have created to share with each other and use for in-class study time. Allow ten minutes for this.

There will be a vocabulary test on FRIDAY of the second week.

Create a page or area in your room where every single word for the entire year can be collected. Label words as shown below.

  • W = selected for this cycle’s master list.
  • Q = selected for this Quarter’s Final Vocabulary Exam
  • Y = selected for this Academic Year Final Vocabulary Exam

1st QTR

Weeks 1-2 List 1

Weeks 3-4 List 2

Weeks 5-6 List 3

Weeks 7-8 List 4

Weeks 9-10 List 5

1st            QTR Final Vocabulary Exam : 2-4 words from each List (10-20 words tested)

2nd          QTR

Weeks 1-2 List 6

Weeks 3-4 List 7

Weeks 5-6 List 8

Weeks 7-8 List 9

Weeks 9-10 List 10

2nd          QTR Final Vocabulary Exam : 2-4 words from each List (10-20 words tested)

3rd           QTR

Weeks 1-2 List 11

Weeks 3-4 List 12

Weeks 5-6 List 13

Weeks 7-8 List 14

Weeks 9-10 List 15

3rd          QTR Final Vocabulary Exam : 2-4 words from each List (10-20 words tested)

4th           QTR

Weeks 1-2 List 16

Weeks 3-4 List 17

Weeks 5-6 List 18

Weeks 7-8 List 19

Weeks 9-10 List 20

4th            QTR Final Vocabulary Exam : 2-4 words from each List (10-20 words tested)

Academic Year Final Vocabulary Exam – Student Selected Words to be tested (30-60 words to be tested)

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4 thoughts on “Student-Driven Vocabulary

  • January 24, 2012 at 9:09 AM
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    Mr. Moshe — You are my hero!!! Your website is amazing: organized, thorough, diverse. I was looking for projects for Anne Frank and came across your link on Google. I feel like I hit the pot of gold! Student-driven spelling lists, how to have students create the rules, homework that makes sense, and so much more. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I need this so badly right now.
    You have done a very good thing. You’ve given a nearly-burned-out teacher hope.

    Reply
  • August 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM
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    Dear Mr. Moshe, Are you using the You’ve been Sentenced! game in your classroom? Can you tell me a little bit more about how you incorporate it into your lesson plans? I’d love to share some information with other teachers on our company’s news site!
    Susan McNeill
    McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds
    creators of the You’ve been Sentenced! word game
    (Phone number deleted)

    Reply
  • September 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM
    Permalink

    trembling- shake involuntarily, typically as a result of anxiety, excitement, or frailty.
    part of speech: quiver
    Latin word: trumulus, trembler
    sentence from book: the police will be here soon,i was trembling and it wasn’t all from cold.

    Reply

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