The idea is to give unannounced vocabulary assessments which are simply "translate the vocabulary word into English." But the difference is:
- the only words which are on the quiz are those which have been targeted in class and are on the word wall
- the list of words on the quiz becomes cumulative, meaning that all of the words from previous quizzes are on there as well, hence the name "10-50" (signifying that the number of words on the quiz increases, starting from 10 to eventually 50
- the quizzes are only given when you the teacher feel that students are ready, so you are on their timeline, not the other way around
- my addition is that instead of just giving students a list of words to define, I have the words in sentences from stories which we have done, hence, the words are not in isolation but rather in a familiar context
Latin 1 example (34 words):
1) mater dicit, “ego pecuniam non habeo”
2) Rob est tristis.
3) Ian pulchram puellam videt.
4) Leonard clamat, “O infans, depone lightsabrem!”
5) Bill clamat, “mensa non est amicus!”
6) hodie Tom diem natalem celebrat.
7) infans ad Walmart it.
8) pater infantem videt, et infantem capit.
9) mater dicit, “cur tu canem vis?’
10) Bill non est laetus.
11) Ian mensam et sellam dat.
12) Kim crustulum amat, sed non Yodam.
13) Jack est iratus, quod Publix popartes non vendit.
14) Ian dicit, “O pulchra puella, salve!”
15) Jack dicit, “ego poptartem volo!”
16) Kim leonem vult.
17) in familia, Rob est filius
- Because I only give these quizzes when I feel that students are ready, there is not the stress which I saw when students had to be prepared for an announced quiz. In fact, I have never had a student gripe or complain about the unannounced nature of the assessment. These quizzes usually happen every 1 1/2 weeks.
- Even though these quizzes are unannounced, at least 90% of students are getting 95% or higher, meaning that students have acquired these words. They have never had to study these words, to memorize them or to make flashcards - it has all been through listening, reading and meaningul repetitions/interactions with these words. Plus, because I have limited vocabulary, students have never felt overwhelmed by the number of words.
- I use these quizzes as formative assessments, although there are many who use them as summative assessments. If I see that students are missing a particular word, then that shows me that they have not acquired it and need more meaningful repetitions/interactions with that word.
- Because the words are in sentences from previous stories which students have read ad nauseam (hence, a familiar context), it is easier for them to recall the meaning if they do not know it offhand. In fact, it is fun to hear students say during the quiz, "Hey, this word is from the first story which we ever read!" I do vary up the sentences each quiz though so that students are not just memorizing the sentences.
- Although the list of words is cumulative, I only add 4-6 new words each quiz, so it is not overwhelming for students. The cumulative nature of the quiz actually lowers affective filters, because students already know the majority of the words on the assessment.
- The only overwhelming part of the assessment for students is having to define more words each time, so it is not a matter of not knowing the words but having to write down more.
Because students finish the quiz at different times, I always have those quick processors draw a picture on the back as a way to keep them occupied while others are still working, e.g., I will tell them "Draw me a picture of your 6th period class" or "Draw me a picture of what you were doing when the fire alarm went off yesterday." This also shows me who is still working. Quite honestly, for some reason, drawing the picture is what students look forward to the most, so much that I always have to say, "Now don't rush through the quiz so that you can draw the picture!"