It Worked!

Amanda Teacher: So if you pass next Friday’s vocab test on Monday, you don’t have to study the class’ vocab words. You’d get to choose your own affixes to study this week.

Dead Meat, joking: Like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

Amanda Teacher: Actually, some people say that word can be broken down into roots. So sure, I’d let you break it down.

Another Student I Haven’t Nicknamed Yet: What’s ‘do’?

Subatomic: A deer, a female deer.

Amanda Teacher: Ray, a drop of golden sun!

Another Student I Haven’t Nicknamed Yet: What?

Dead Meat: Me, a name I call myself. [Suddenly serious.] I want next week’s word list.


Inspired by an idea I found in a new teaching book, I did something different with vocab this week.

We’ve been studying affixes for a few weeks, and it’s clear that some of these affixes are too easy for some of the students. On Friday I offered my students the opportunity to get this week’s affixes. If they chose to get the words, they would take Friday’s test today. And if they showed mastery (80% or greater), they would get to pick their own words to study during the week.

Seven students chose to get the word list and out of 18 points, all of them scored a 16 or above. Five of them got perfect scores!

Part of the test was to brainstorm 5-10 words (total) based on all of the affixes we’ve studied so far. Surprise, surprise, most of the students went crazy on that one. They were brainstorming 12-15 words. Then they were supposed to write a paragraph using 3-5 of their selected words.

Here are some of the paragraphs they came up with.

At school I’m doing a PHOTOGRAPHY project. Ms. S DISLIKED it when no one brought their materials in to take PHOTOS. Ms. S EXCLUDED them from taking after that. Everyone else was ABLE to take pictures.

True story. Thanks for documenting that.

From another student:

I play tennis and my dad always says have good SPORTSMANSHIP and when I lose my temper and my dad says that is not ACCEPTABLE so, I would consider tennis a HARDSHIP because I suck at tennis.

And finally:

I was a doctOR traveling the world with many ugLY people. Those people were so mean that they broke my BIcycle so I TRANSported them to the bottom of the ocean. And know I’m happy.

Now they’ve all chosen their own ten words to study this week. They’ll be assessed on those words on Friday. They chose cool, dorky, way-too-hard affixes that the rest of my students wouldn’t get, like RAGO for beg or ask. (Arrogant, for example.) Or HYPNO for sleep.

Let’s see how this plays out on Friday, when they get tested on their level…

One thought on “It Worked!

  1. Comment from: Katie [Visitor] ·
    I approve of your students just for the first bit of this post! =)
    09/29/09 @ 21:52

    Comment from: admin [Member] Email
    My students are *funny* this year. They’re just organically, naturally funny.
    09/29/09 @ 22:23

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