I have never been a fan of the role vocabulary sometimes plays in an English class. Most often students are assigned words to learn each week with a quiz at the end of the week to test their knowledge. Once that week is complete, the class moves on to a new set of words only to leave the previous week's words to be erased from student's minds.
My approach to vocabulary promotes long-term retention of the words, their meanings, and their proper usages. My strategies are based on the work of Lee Jenkins and his
studies on how to eliminate giving students "permission to forget." Here's how it works...
By the end of each semester, students will be responsible
for learning 80 vocabulary words provided by me. In order to
achieve this goal, students will partake in the following activites:
At the start of each week, students will be given five randomly selected words from the eighty-word list. Without any assistance aside from prior knowledge, students must identify the words. At first, students may not be able to identify many words, but as the semester progresses, and they learn the words as described below, students will be able to identify more. These quizzes are not graded (first semester), but will require students to maintain knowledge of the words.
(available only semester two) All students may attempt the bonus round of identifying an additional five words from the semester one vocabulary list during the random quizzes. Credit cannot be lost, but only gained if they successfully identify any or all of the bonus words.
Every week we will select five of the eighty vocabulary words to be studied. In class we will review the words, their definitions, examples, synonyms and antonyms. Students will compile all definitions on their monthly vocabulary sheets.
At the end of every two weeks students will be quizzed on the total ten words from the past two weeks. Quizzes will be handwritten, using proper penmanship, and will consist of defining each word and writing a complete sentence for each that exemplifies understanding of the words.
PRE / MID / FINAL
The goal is to have students learn and commit to memory eighty words. During the first week of the semester students will be given all eighty words and be given time to attempt to identify as many as possible. The same words will be given to them at mid-term, and again at the end of the semester. Progress will be charted. Scoring for these tests reflects how many of the words a student should know by the time of the test.
I always try to come up with the best set of vocabulary words for students. Some
teachers use the words found in our text books, and others use the SATs and/or AIMS to generate lists. These are well and good approaches, but I found a source that offers words that are more useful than simply knowing in order to pass a standardized test. They are words that apply to all subject areas of high school and beyond. The words come courtesy of the aptly titled books: 100 Words Every High School Freshmen Should Know & 100 Words To Make You Sound Great.
Here are the words:
44. modus operandi