Students use website to improve vocabulary

NORTHVILLE – Northville middle and high school teachers joined together to engage their students in a celebration of Vocabulary Day on Friday. Vocabulary was the focus in subjects ranging from English and Spanish to home and careers, art and even physical education, with teachers in each of those classes incorporating the website into their plans, a news release said.

Northville’s students and teachers have been participating as a team in the 2015-16 Vocabulary Bowl since September. Northville finished as a New York state top 10 Vocabulary Bowl school in October, December and January, and is on pace to finish in the top 10 in the state for February as well, the release said.

Vocabulary Bowl participants answer assessment, review, progress and brush-up questions to master different words and maintain proficiency over their classroom and individual word lists.

As of Thursday, the day before Vocabulary Day, Northville ranked 192nd in the entire country, with its team members having mastered over 10,000 words this year. The website states 16,000 schools participated in last year’s Vocabulary Bowl, and with even more schools participating in this year’s challenge, the release said.

Middle school English teacher Jayme Bevington suggested the idea of Vocabulary Day to her colleagues as way to encourage the students in learning their vocabulary by also showing its importance outside of the English classroom, the release said.

A number of teachers agreed to take part, prompting Bevington to say in the news release she was “thrilled to have the support of so many teachers. It’s a wonderful feeling to have so many professionals supporting something that is so fundamental to our kids’ education. And of course, having (the students) experience in so many different settings and contexts really shows them that as a school, we are a team in how we learn.”

The students in Bevington’s classes spent Vocabulary Day working in teams to master words from lists she created for them on the website. The teammates mastering the most words in each class got to choose from an array of gift cards, and the motivation apparently worked; Bevington’s eighth graders mastered a total of 185 words in first period alone. Gavin Clute, a member of that class’s winning team, said in the release he uses in class and at home because “when I keep practicing, it helps me do other stuff in school.”

Bevington said in the release many Northville students have the website’s app on their cell phones, which makes it easier for them to “play” whenever they have a free moment at school or at home. And vying against classmates and other schools in New York and across the country adds to the challenge.

“I mastered 20 words today!” said seventh -grader Hannah Lent in the release.

When asked what was the best part of being in the Vocabulary Bowl, Lent said in the release, “Having a competition is what makes it fun.”

Where most students might not consider vocabulary improvement to be fun, much less a game, Northville’s students are finding their Vocabulary Bowl efforts to be both, the release said.

Friday’s Vocabulary Day celebration proved to be a success, with the Northville team mastering over 1,000 words in a single day and jumping to third in the state for the month, eighth in the state for the year, and 180th in the nation, the release said.

“The kids are loving this,” said Bevington in the release. “And I am really loving hearing them leave my class talking about, of all things, words.”

According to the release, it sounds like Northville’s teaching staff might now have to master the meaning of the phrase “let’s have another Vocabulary Day soon.”

By -