Vocabulary study will become meaningful to Middle and High School students when they make the words an integral part of their writing and speaking. We teachers must offer them a variety of ways to think about the word’s definition, as well as its connotative meaning so that they can make logical inferences about its usage.
The key to word ownership is to offer students many opportunities to use the words repeatedly in order to remove any aura of isolation that remains when they just memorize the meanings for a test. This multiple exposure will help the students become more comfortable and confident with how to use the words.
Like my Vocabulary: FOR THE LOVE OF WORDS! Vocabulary - FOR THE LOVE OF WORDS!
activities, Oh My WORDs! offers 30 exercises for students to show they understand how the vocabulary words should be used in context.
Through this reinforcement, each student will add some of the words to his or her oral and written language repertoire. Reading comprehension will also improve, not just due to the inclusion of teacher-generated words into their personal vocabularies, but also because they are learning to think about how writers choose words to express their thoughts.
I have grouped the exercises as: Warm-ups Writing, Short Writing, and Shared Writing. For the most part, the topics are general enough to be used in conjunction with any word list. Students should complete the Warm-up Writing in 15-20 minutes and the other two categories in twenty-five to thirty minutes. My intention is not to turn these into major writing assignments, but to offer enough depth for the students to develop their thoughts and to include as many words as they could without turning the writing into a contextual word list.
To insure that the students are studying how the words are used and are not just memorizing the meanings, assign a Short Writing the night before the quiz. The day of the assessment, collect the writings, put them in a stack on your desk, and, while the students are completing the quiz, check off that they are complete. You can review these pieces quite quickly if you choose to only circle any words that are used incorrectly or are unclear.
When the students have turned in the quiz, they should choose a peer’s Short Writing and write their reactions to the content of the piece. Have them underline any vocabulary words that they use in their 100-150 word responses for extra credit. When the time is up, stroll through the room, check that the assignment is completed and note any extra credit that you may add to their quiz grade.
Both products discussed here are terrific vocabulary comprehension reinforcements for
Vocabulary: SAT Word Lists and Quizzes (480 words)
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