Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bringing Words to Life: Assessing and Maintaining New Vocabulary PART ONE

Sorry I'm a little LOT late getting this week's post up, but I was helping with some manual labor today. We're painting my in-law's fence as a thank you for all the little extras they do for us all the time (like constantly babysitting our kid and buying things that we could've bought ourselves). Anyway, it was H-O-T today and I almost put it off until tomorrow. Instead, I decided that this chapter has SO much information that I'm actually going to split it into two parts. So you can read about assessment today and come back tomorrow to learn about maintaining new vocabulary!


How many of you cringe simply at the mention of the word? Fortunately we're not talking about any big tests or even a test at all, necessarily. These assessments are meant to be fairly quick and to-the point. I have four things to quickly discuss, then you can go to bed and come back to read more sometime tomorrow when I get the chance to post again! 

It's probably best to use multiple types of assessment.
Why? One assessment may just show that the student guessed correctly, or they may ONLY know the definition. You want to make sure a student truly understands the word and can use it properly. Maybe have a matching (word-to-definition) and then have students use the word in a sentence that's not just "I am frustrated."

Classic assessments such as multiple-choice and true/false are not necessarily bad.
I was a little surprised by that at first, but I guess it makes sense. For multiple-choice, have one question that asks students to choose the correct definition, but then include another that asks for a relation (Pyramid has to do with: farming, noise, movement, or math). This way, you can better understand at what level each student "gets it". True/False can be taken to the next level by including examples rather than definitions and then asking students to explain their answer.

For more in-depth formats, you can also use some of the MANY activities listed in the book. 
I've mentioned a few in previous posts. One big assessment they focus on in this chapter is "context interpretations" where students need to apply the word's meaning to understand the context it is being used in. Here's an example: "When Father heard that Lisa had ripped up the letter from Steve, Father commended her for it. What do you think Father thought of Steve?"

What about the younger learners?
Since they are probably not going to be able to read Tier Two words, assessments need to be given orally. This, of course, ties your hands in what you can actually do. The best option they suggest is having students fill out a response sheet with either YES/NO or smiley/frowny faces. To keep students from just having lucky guesses, ask about each word FOUR different ways. Two questions can relate to context ("If you are a whiz at working puzzles, might someone say that you are clever?") while two more focus on meaning ("Does clever mean trying hard?"). And, of course, mix it up within the other words being assessed.

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