Students at thousands of schools around the U.S. and Canada are competing in the Vocabulary Bowl — a competition to see which schools can master the most words. Since October 1, our students have answered over 1 million questions on vocabulary.com, spent 3,304 hours on the site, and mastered 71,561 words! We are top 10 in NYS among all schools of any size, #1 in NYS in our division, and #2 in our division nationally. Every Ursuline student participates in this achievement.
Teachers and students both love this Vocabulary Bowl! 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. The site displays a variety of questions, typically several for a given word. So if a student misses a definition, the same word may come up in a different question, several questions later. 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. Teachers can easily choose the questions to test, the format, and the difficulty level. And teachers can easily see which words are difficult for a student or a class, and then offer appropriate follow up.
The lists of vocabulary words can be tailored to relate to the material being discussed in class. 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!
Vocabulary lists can be created for any subject or topic. However, the teachers in our English Department have taken the lead in using this online adaptive learning game. These innovative English teachers are pictured here, clockwise from the top: Ms. Annemarie Bacich, Mrs. Maria Hanson, Mrs. Betty Baxter, Mrs. Mary Seiler, Mrs. Patty Joyce, Ms. Adrianna Robertson, Ms. Deirdre Gaughan, Ms. Pamela Vasile, and Ms. Amanda Martino.
The Vocabulary Bowl runs through April 30, 2019. Stay tuned for final results!