As we have posted before, multiple-choice tests aren’t necessarily bad, but there are many other ways you can go about creating authentic assessments when determining the level of reading comprehension. The same is true and possibly more important for evaluating vocabulary comprehension. Retention, not just memorization, is key. And the easiest way to increase retention is to ask students to respond, not merely bubble in an answer. Today and tomorrow’s posts will focus on a variety of ways that students can truly show how well they know the words themselves.
Each of these activities assume the students have been assigned a set of words (usually 15-20) to learn. The activities can be used after they have defined each word. For each activity I’m not asking them to use every word. In most cases I give them a set amount of words from their list to use or will often give them specific words to incorporate if I’m trying to challenge them further.
Comic Strip: Ask students to create a comic strip using a percentage of their vocabulary words within the dialogue bubbles and transitions boxes. ReadWriteThink has created a program called Comic Creator that is great because the students are provided characters, dialogue boxes, and props to work with. Many Microsoft programs also come equipped with Comic Life, which also allows students to create comic strips in a clear, professional manner. The primary difference between the two is that Comic Creator provides the images and Comic Life provides more freedom for layout and design. However, if all else fails, you could always print off a panel of a blank comic strip. As usual, it isn’t about their drawings but if they can create a story that properly uses (and not overuses) the words.
Images: In the past we have discussed the importance of visual analysis and provided a variety of strategies to help students break down images. Images are easy to annotate and help raise student literacy because it promotes them applying their learning in a contemporary way. One way to assess student knowledge of vocabulary is to provide students an image and to ask them to annotate it using their vocabulary words. Have them annotate elements of the image with the words. For example, the students might include an annotation on the image of raising the flag at Iwo Jima that the soldiers might be highlighting fortitude because of their passion and bravery. This is great because it combines image analysis with vocabulary application. They can use Concept Board, a tool we have featured before, to annotate the image electronically or for homework, or they can physically annotate an image provided on butcher paper in class.
Tomorrow I will be providing two more suggestions on how to more creatively teach and assess your student’s vocabulary knowledge.
Images taken from d3b…*.