Recently, I sat down to study reading quizzes my sophomores completed on Tuesdays with Morrie, the memoir written by Mitch Albom. One of my Sophomore English classes, is co-taught; my co-teacher, Geri Dismeier and I agree that poor performance on vocabulary accounted for the majority of lower grades. While grades are not the ultimate goal in learning, vocabulary is one of the significant goals. Vocabulary knowledge is a life skill that plays a key role in what students understand and communicate.
After talking through ideas with my co-teacher, I took the opportunity to try something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. I created a video for our students to refer back to as they studied for the second reading quiz over this weekend. Students will be taking the quiz on Monday. I can’t wait to see how they do on vocabulary in comparison to the first quiz!
The process took all of one hour from start to finish.
- I created a Google Slide presentation in which I typed in the words and definitions the students previously articulated in class using their context clues (I wanted to be sure to use the same words we used in class).
- I scavenged through my own pictures to see which pictures could represent the words.
- If I couldn’t find an appropriate photo of my own, I searched through Flickr.com under the Creative Commons section for photos.
- I inserted (or, in my case with my Mac, dragged) the pictures into blank slides that I left after each word slide.
- Using QuickTime, I screen recorded myself talking through the presentation.
The part that took the longest was finding appropriate photos. In fairness, I recorded myself once more before saving my final recording. I sounded too hurried in my first recording.
I modeled my video from the SAT vocabulary videos that Catlin Tucker has been successfully using for some time. Her post about this, Vocabulary Lessons: Flipped, Collaborative, and Student-Centered, thoroughly explains her process and reasoning. Please check it out for more information and ideas! I refer back to Tucker’s posts frequently as she exemplifies many collaborative strategies to incorporate technology and the CCSS in instruction. (Thank you, Twitter! That’s how I originally discovered Tucker’s teaching).
What would I like to do differently next time to improve? As a culminating summative assessment, I’d like the students to create their own vocabulary videos, within small groups, toward end of the semester. That way, they can use these videos collectively to help study for finals! Once I have that assignment created, I will post that as a follow-up in case anyone is interested.
From a technical standpoint, I’d like to include the part of speech along with including the exact sentence from which the vocabulary word appears in our reading. In this particular course, we read much of our material aloud and it will be a chance for students to use their context clues once again.
From an instructional standpoint, perhaps asking students to bring their own created sentences the morning after viewing the video will actively engage them once more with the words before any type of formative assessment is given in class.
For other usage, I can see myself creating instructional students for my students to use -say – at the beginning of the year (i.e. how to sign up for Schoology or iTunes U, how to sign in to GAFE, etc). Tucker does these very well!! Check out her YouTube page! It’s a great idea to save class time AND it’s great for new or transfer students we sometimes get in the middle of the year. These videos were quicker and more fun to create than I thought. . . I’d definitely like to find ways they may be more useful.