Friday, March 07, 2008

Not bad, part 1

Today was the opposite of yesterday. In many ways.

First off, most of my students were doing their practice ACT. The only ones to come to class were seniors, kids who got to school late and weren't allowed in the testing room, and "demotes" that don't have enough credits to be juniors. So, about six or seven kids per class.

On a day like today, many teachers would just let the students do whatever, but I decided to do some vocabulary building by using the website. The site combines vocabulary with hunger relief. For every question you get right, 20 grains of rice are donated. Check it out for yourself. Basically, though, you get a set-up like this:

backlash means:

You click on the synonym/definition and move on to the next word.

I put the kids in small groups and we went around the room, seeing which team could get the most correct. It was low-key, laid-back, and fun. There was some good-natured joking when a team got a word wrong. Several times, I heard someone say, "I just learned a new word!" And it was a great chance to hear kids use some strategies to get the answers. They looked at the affixes. They considered roots. They tried changing the form, or saying words that sounded the same. They used process of elimination. One guy really made me proud when he said, "Well, backlash seems to be a negative word. So it can't be questionnaire or law."

Will they remember any of the words? Maybe not. But hopefully they'll remember a carefree day in class when everyone left smiling. Now if I could just get them to turn in some assignments.


A said...

I'm so happy you're writing again! I kept checking and checking and then stopped coming here. Today I decided to pass through again and was pleasantly surprised with all of your new posts! YAAAAAH!

appopt said...


I definitely go on streaks. I try to post every day, but when I miss just one day I lose all momentum and just quit. I'm hoping to go on a writing streak for the rest of the school year. And, yes, comments like this do make it worthwhile.

ms g said...

What a great website! I am both proud and totally embarrassed to report my daughter kicked my ass! She's 10! I accused her of guessing, but then she started vocalizing how she was figuring out synonyms and by jove, she had it goin' on.

She's going to tell her teacher at school about it, so look at you-shaping the future of the nation and providing hunger relief to boot...