Two years ago, I attempted to enhance my weekly vocabulary units that I was presenting to my bored-out-of-their-mind-please-just-let-me-graduate-seniors. So I coordinated with our school librarian who was anxious for teachers to come visit her and present ideas that she could assist in developing! Plus, she was very fond of web 2.0 learning tools and was one of my early inspirations in transitioning my content out into the World Wide Web (that sounds like such an archaic term these days). Our goal was to liven up the vocabulary unit and utilize web 2.0 tools and some of the fancy new CFF (Classrooms For the Future) equipment we just received as part of a grant from the state. Here is what we came up with…but first, a brief video of what we did and how we got started…
Objective: When this unit is completed, students will be able to
1. Identify and understand new words in context
2. Define and use the word
Process: After the class discusses each word, students will be then be assigned one word. Students will perform the following tasks for Vocabulary Unit 4 with their Vocab Partner:
- Come up with five sentences for their word. Make sure you utilize context clues in each of your sentences.
- Take one sentence and create a way in which you can visualize that word for your peers to see and understand.
- Present the idea to the teacher for approval
- Once your idea is approved, you will take a digital camera and spend no longer than 3 minutes capturing your photo. MY NOTE: Anytime you use digital cameras, video cameras, microphones, etc. make sure you give the students a specific timetable to use that equipment. This will allow all students to move along in the process and will use class time efficiently.
- Once you have your photo taken, show it to the teacher for second approval and then obtain a USB cable for upload. Upload to our class flickr page.
- Once your photo is uploaded make sure you post the
- Word – SPELLED CORRECTLY!
- Part of Speech
- Definition that correlates to your photo
- You may also enhance your photo by visiting big huge labs dot com.
You will have 30 minutes on Monday and Tuesday to complete this project.
Grading will adhere to the following criteria:
- Spelling and Grammar……………..10……7…….4……..0
- Visual Appeal and Clarity……..10…..7……..4……..0
And that was the assignment in a nutshell. The rubric is a rough sketch. I cannot find the original rubric we used, but it was similar to those guidelines.
Once we finished the project, we had a viewing of the words on Wednesday. Each group presented their word to the class. It was a fun and engaging way to jazz up learning new vocabulary and retention. I noticed my vocabulary quiz grades improve significantly after this project. The students actually looked forward to vocabulary and I actually caught some of them looking ahead to future units!
This lesson put a fun, easy twist on something that had been boring and trite to my students. It did not take a lot of class time and in the end served as a valuable learning and retention tool. If you are worried about class time being eaten up by projects like this, then put a time stamp on tasks and enforce your time cap! Tell students they will lose points if they lag behind. I found this project to take a little more time during the first run through, but as we approached each new vocabulary unit, students became aware of the process and time it would take to get it done. I rarely had to subtract points for time.
Here are some examples of student work with flickr and Big Huge Labs