Vine: Making vocabulary meaningful

To set the scene for everyone … starring dauntlessly at data during an in-school collaborative planning session with multiple content areas, teachers were bickering back and forth on how students were struggling with higher-level vocabulary. It was obvious not understanding the vocabulary had a correlation with low reading comprehension on the district’s reading measuring stick, Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI).

Everyone knew one root of the problem and had attempted to “solve it overnight” with numerous reading intervention programs. However, the amount of growth was not increasing at the level teachers wanted –with high expectations, it might never grow as quickly as we would like, but that is a tale for another day – and no one was coming up with a solution that wasn’t already attempted in some form.

Pulling out my mobile device, I began filming the squabble with an app called Vine. At the end of the seven second clip, I wrote out the word squabble and took a miniscule clip of it. Beginning to laugh at my creation, I got the scowl from our collaborative planning moderator and shared my vocabulary creation with my colleagues.

Surprisingly, our negative conversation transitioned to how this concept of Vine would be used in science classes to engage students in difficult vocabulary. Boldly, I offered to attempt using the app in my upper tier language arts classes.

Our district purchased a mini-vocabulary program which is not used in the context of our curriculum, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to make those words relevant to students.

Get your phones out of your locker:

Unsure of how Vine was going to go over in class, I quietly asked students to go get all of their things to go home (since it was the last period of the day). Knowing they had their phones, I showed students an example of a Vine video I found online from a fellow Twitter educator.

Next, I paired them in groups of two, assigned each group a word, and had them create an idea on how to display characteristics of their word in a seven second Vine video. No one had to download the app (which was awesome) because enough of them already used the app. Before filming, I asked each group to explain their video clip to me for approval.

Hashtag your clips:

Similar to other educators, I prefer not to friend or follow students until after they have moved onto the high school level and I no longer teach them. As a result, our class created a hashtag (#ndmscook) which is written in the description of each video. This allows me to search for their video.

Teacher-to-Teacher Vine reflections:

  • Ensure students post the new word or vocabulary in the video clip or in description for grading purposes.
  • Be flexible in grading, our first Vines were not the greatest. However, I am working towards improving and so are the students.
  • Hashtag – Make the hashtag relevant to your classroom.
  • Video recording – If you are working with younger students, attempt not to use them in the Vine video. Using a prop or figurine ensures student safety.
  • Great “How To Use Vine in the Classroom” article
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About briancookeducator

Husband, Daddy, teacher, #Mountaineer, coach, and aspiring school leader | Thoughts are my own.
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