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Instead of having a perfect and well-finished product to address my students’ needs, I decided to put into practice some of the ideas quite immediately. I wanted to see what and how it could work.

Primarily, we identified the need to focus on vocabulary development both in and outside the classroom.

Although the needs of a particular group suggested this focus, some of the strategies and skills are beneficial to the whole class. Therefore, I decided to implement some of them with the entire group while others only the focus group would use.

Here is how it’s working in class, with the whole group:

As the warm-up, we are focusing on activating vocabulary. During the  1st fifteen minutes of each lesson, we focus on one vocabulary activity. These allow students to revise, practice and learn vocabulary that is current to the unit.

The warm-ups use a variety of activities that I’m familiar with and have successfully used before such as the word box, Quizlets, word search…

Since I often use the station rotation model during instruction. I have also decided to add more consistently into the rotation a vocabulary station. During these, I’ll be able to explore some of the strategies that I am not as familiar with such as word map diagrams, scavenger hunt and mind maps.

Since the activities mentioned above involve other skills such as reading and or collaborative work they can also be part of my recurrent speaking or reading stations.

The target group is using some of the work/activities produced or used in class to develop their vocabulary through independently working or outside the classroom. That’s the case of the Quizlets and lists with essential vocabulary.

They are as well working on developing and enhancing specific lists according to their needs or using the extra time to fulfill some of the vocabulary tasks. They have exponentially increased the time to vocabulary acquisition and practice.

Benefits

  • Fast response to a problem
  • Clear focus
  • Every student gets to practice and develop this particular skill

Challenges:

  • Keeping it relevant and varied
  • Measuring and monitoring progress and time outside the classroom
  • Keeping activities of the vocabulary station in context

In fact, the regained focus on vocabulary will certainly help to develop the whole group’s language skills.  Since “understanding of what you read and hear is, to a very large degree, determined by your vocabulary”.