Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rethinking Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster defines "drudgery" as "dull, irksome, uninspiring or menial labor". As students are working on homework in the library, I tend to hear, "Miss M, can you help me/us?" While often it is technology related or project related, many times they need help with their vocabulary homework. I have sat down with many students to help them through their vocabulary workbook . . . talk about uninspiring.

I wonder if a different approach would be more inspiring and interactive to students, and therefore more effective. So, I began to build an alternative (or additional) approach to vocabulary to share with my Language Arts teachers. I wanted the options to be practical, completable in one class period, and introduce and/or reinforce the vocabulary for the week.

1. Wordia - have student pick a word from the list and create a short video wordia-style
  • Have students sit/stand in front of camera with little to no props and explain the word by defining it, telling what it means to them, and giving an example of how to use the word

2. WordAhead - have students create their own narrated definition and example sentence with a visual
  • Instead of having one picture playing the entire explanation (as is done in wordahead) I would have students use a comic generator
  • Try Pixton, Bitstrips, or GoAnimate

3. Weboword - have students create their own stick-figure representations of their word
  • This could be done on good old paper and scanned, in Paint, or try ArtPad or SketchPad

4. Shahi - have students create their own visual dictionary

All of these sites themselves could be used to introduce students to their vocabulary. However, the number of words available on these sites is very limited. I think their true strength lies in providing an example of what students could produce by working with their vocab words.


WeboWord said...

Hi Miss M

Thanks so much for covering WeboWord on your blog! :)

It is our pleasure to inform you that we @ WeboWord have created WeboWord Connect (http://your.weboword.com) where everyone can collaborate, create and share their own visual vocabulary and have lots of debates and discussions.

Hoping you and your readers find it useful!

Thanks and warm regards,

Miss M said...

Thanks WeboWord - the WeboWord Connect looks great! I'm excited to begin exploring/using it.

Faiza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faiza said...

Thanks Miss M for adding WordAhead to your list of useful vocabulary resources. Even though currently WordAhead has almost all the videos in the same format, we also welcome videos, animations, slide shows or comic strips in any format made by the students about the vocabulary word of their choice. We will be adding a few examples to the site soon. Also we are adding new words every other week to increase our word bank.

Thanks again!
Faiza Khan