Reviewing vocabulary should be a day at the beach.
So much vocabulary, so little time! One of the things that I have started to learn is that vocabulary is not acquired through memorization of flash cards (along with English equivalents) but through lots and lots of repetition and authentic usage. Eventually, the mind casts off the notion of tethering a word to an English equivalent and it stands on its own.
At least, that is the theory anyway.
Well, regardless of what you are doing in your class, one of the things we could never do enough of is to find ways to review vocabulary. I call it the ION Check, which is heavily derived from MagisterP’s KFD Quiz.
First, its purpose – to help students review a reading (so a post-reading activity) to check for what they know, can’t remember or have forgotten, or just don’t know. It is a great way to assess where we are at and if we are making progress. The ION stands for Intellegō (I understand), Obliviscor (I forget), Nesciō (I don’t know).
Following MagisterP’s suggestion, this is an assignment which should fit into your Portfolio (0%) category so it won’t count against a student’s grade but will serve as evidence to evaluate progress. For an AP Latin class, this will vary a bit from the typical comprehensible input (CI) classroom in that we are getting students ready for translation and philological work. That is not to say we should not have as our primary goal staying in and using the target language (consider the Interpretative rubric inspired by ACTFL’s standards – coming soon). This assessment, however, is a self-reflective one in that the students will assess where their knowledge of vocabulary is at the moment and give them insight into where they need to focus a bit more.
Step 1 Setup. So, how does it work? All you need is a bit of text that has been read (again, it should be a post-reading activity although you could use it as a pre-reading activity to get students ready to read and shore up any areas of weakness) and a sheet of paper. Students should fold up their papers into threes, or draw lines to create three vertical boxes, and write I, O, and N above each column.
Step 2 Read and Record. Read the text and students should record as many words as they can under each category. N.B. Now, it could get sloppy if students are just shooting for quantity and not quality. Students should actually be looking for words in the O and N columns and if they can’t seem to find one, only then record a word under the I column. The purpose of the O (Obliviscor) column is to highlight words that sound familiar or may have once known but forgot. The N (Nescio) column is self-explanatory in that it is a completely new word – a first encounter.
Step 3 Reread. Go back to the beginning and reread the selected text. Students should interrupt as you come to words that they wrote under the O and N columns. Discuss the meanings of those words (if you are a CI classroom, do so in the target language and circle and ask PQAs – personalized question-asking).
Step 4 Score. If you are using a 0% category (yay!) scoring this is arbitrary but Magister P suggests dividing the reading into 4 chunks (or paragraphs) so that at least 1 word can be recorded from each chunk. This means you could potentially earn a maximum of 4/4. This would work as in Step 3, during the re-read, the words recorded should have an English equivalent recorded next to them. If under the I column, the student would know it and would record that there; if under O or N columns, students would gain the English equivalent from the resulted discussion. I would take it a step further and encourage students to record either an English equivalent or a Latin one (aliīs verbīs) to get credit. Collect at the end of class and record your scores or have the students place them in their portfolio.