More than 1.38 million students at 39,000 schools in North America competed in the Vocabulary Bowl to see which schools can master the most words. From October 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019 our students mastered 101,189 words!
The Ursuline School achieved the number 1 spot in NY State in our division, and 26th place among all high schools in North America. Every Ursuline student played a part in this outstanding achievement. The high number of words mastered reflects the students’ hard work and perseverance as well as the willingness of faculty to try new forms of teaching and learning.
Teachers and students both love this Vocabulary Bowl which led us to replace paper vocabulary workbooks with this online adaptive learning game! Why?
Students are learning, not just memorizing words. This is due to the structure of the learning game which offers up words as synonyms or antonyms, in sentences, or in the context of a paragraph. Students can also listen to how words are pronounced. The goal is to nudge each student ahead, according to her level of knowledge, delivering questions that are challenging, not too hard or too easy.
Students have said that the program forces them to think about vocabulary in a different, more authentic way. They love the quizzes, too! They love that they can see their grade immediately. The consensus is that the online quizzes are better than paper ones. Teachers like the quizzes as well, in particular, that the students get immediate feedback and teachers can spend time on other responsibilities rather than grading vocabulary.
The lists of vocabulary words can be tailored to relate to the material being discussed in any class. However, the teachers in our English Department took the lead in using this online adaptive learning game which harnessed the power of friendly competition to motivate learning and achievement. Often lists have been created by another teacher in the U.S. For example, if our teacher seeks a list of words relating to "The Great Gatsby," she can find one already created by teachers around the country. Students can create their own lists, whether to study for the SAT or a 6th grade quiz.
Vocabulary Bowl is fun! Classes often review words by doing Vocabulary Jams: timed contests in which students on teams answer questions as they review words. Some students have created their own Vocabulary Jams and face-timed with each other to review from home. That was definitely not happening with paper work books!