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December 5, 2011 Four Reasons I Enjoy Using Student Response Systems for Vocabulary Building By Jeremy Rinkel
Grades 9–12

    Vocabulary is probably the biggest challenge to my students as they attempt to comprehend what they are reading. I have made an effort this year to help them build their vocabulary through review sessions as well as weekly vocabulary quizzes using the student response system MimioVote. On Mondays, I give students a list of fifteen words they have to define and know for Friday's quiz. Continue reading to see the four reasons I enjoy using MimioVote for building vocabulary with my students.



    Student Response Systems Provide an Exciting Way to Review

    My students are a lot more excited about reviewing with MimioVote than they were with my old method.  Before I had access to student response systems, I would hand out  worksheets that asked students to write two sentences using each word in context and complete a practice quiz. I also would verbally review each word with them.  While those methods are important, I have found students retain more when using the student response systems.  Instead of assigning a lot of class work, I take the first five to ten minutes of class each day to review five words.  I put fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice exercises in a presentation and students answer the questions with their handheld device. 




    Student Response Systems Give the Teacher Instant Feedback

    After students click the answer on their response system, I can instantly see the number of people that answered correctly and incorrectly. I can pull a chart up on the projection screen so students can see the percentage of the class that answered correctly. The MimioVote software also breaks down each question and each response, so I can spend additional time reviewing with those who struggled with the entire review. I meet briefly with each of the students that scored a 70% or below for the day. I describe a few strategies for learning the word and discuss the importance of using context clues to understand the meaning of the word.   


    Student Response Systems Save Paper

    Instead of printing four worksheets for 120 students a week, all activities can be completed without  a single sheet of paper. The review and the quiz are completed with a handheld device, and the test is projected on the screen.  Another option is to print a class set of the quizzes, so the students can work at their own pace and go back to review their answers before submitting.   I have found that this self-paced test is the best method, even if it means printing 25 copies of the quiz.  Allowing students to go back and review has increased their scores.



    Student Response Systems Save Grading Time

    Using student response systems saves a lot of grading time.  After students submit their final answers, the software imports their grades directly into the MimioVote grade book.  Currently, our student management software will not import directly from MimioVote, so I have to key the answers from one grade book to another.  It takes about ten minutes to transfer the grades for all of my classes, which is a lot less than if I had to grade 120 paper quizzes.  This allows me to spend my time assisting students, teaching, and planning exciting lessons. 


    What methods have you used to build your students' vocabulary?


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