Probably every teacher would agree that vocabulary instruction is instrumental to student academic success. Teachers know and research has supported the optimal way to learn vocabulary is using a systemic approach that correlates with the content and curriculum being taught in the classroom. That instruction needs to be learner-specific so students can focus on the words they are encountering at their ability level. Northwest AEA provides Vocabulary.com to help teachers in this effort. 

In Vocabulary.com, teachers have the option of using vocabulary lists already created by Vocabulary.com or creating their own list by importing digital text. Vocabulary.com has created lists for many of the most used books and texts, but it is also possible to customize lists. Teachers can assign the list to students and assign a due date. Vocabulary.com provides students with repeated exposure to words they are learning and in a variety of contexts. As students answer questions, they get immediate feedback. Vocabulary.com also keeps track of words students are having difficulty with and students are given multiple opportunities to review those words. Because Vocabulary.com is adaptive, vocabulary instruction can be targeted for each individual student. Teachers also have access to data that allows teachers to track the progress of their students in real time. This gives teachers the opportunity to concentrate on the words students are having the most difficulty with. Teachers also have the opportunity to create quizzes from the lists assigned to their classes. 

In addition to classroom assigned vocabulary words, Vocabulary.com can also be used independently by students by playing "The Challenge", which is an adaptive game students can play to improve their vocabulary. Questions are answered in a series of rounds which consists of 10 questions that test their knowledge. As students answer questions correctly and learn words, they can earn points and badges based on achievements. 

Finally, students are able to participate in a Vocabulary jam. The jam is an interactive competition, where teams compete in real-time. You can start a jam in your classroom. Teachers can choose the number of questions, level of difficulty, classes to invite, game speed and time configurations. It’s just one more way for students to experience vocabulary. 

This month, Northwest AEA will host a webinar presented by Peter Grffin from Vocabulary.com. If you’re interested in learning more about this resource, please let Pam Buysman know at pbuysman@nwaea.org. We will also be sharing information with you in the near future. You can also view this introductory video.