So if you have read Hirsch, you will know that knowledge is the biggest differential between pupils of high socio economic status and those of low. For us, at my academy, we have been focused on knowledge ever since I had the pleasure of visiting Michaela. We have introduced Knowledge Organisers, recap tests, knowledge exams etc etc.
However, we also have to improve our pupils’ vocabulary. We are currently exploring the online Bedrock package but in the mean time, one simple thing we do whole school is Word of the week.
Each week, I send out the word of the week. These words have been taken from Geoff Barton’s A* Vocabulary list which you can find here:
On the slide I send out, I have the word and the word class, followed by a definition, examples of the word in use and synonyms and antonyms. All of these are taken from the Cobuild site which is fantastic. I am also introducing a visual to go with this after attending an amazing vocabulary session at TLT17.
The idea is that the form tutor will introduce the word and the definition. They will then go through the examples and offer further ones of their own. Pupils will then have 1-2 minutes to come up with further examples which they share (all done orally). I’ve found this is key in immediately quashing misconceptions and incorrect use of the word. We then also go through possible synonyms and antonyms and see if we can identify more.
Pupils are then awarded house points if they use the word correctly in a lesson. They are also asked to use it in their 100 word writing challenge each week as well.
The slide is shared on screens across the school, the school’s social media sites and sent home to parents.
The first few slides I have done are available here: