Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vocabulary Workshop: A Look Inside

Daisy has been using Sadlier-Oxford's Vocabulary Workshop this school year.  After reading and participating in a few threads discussing vocabulary curriculum choices on the WTM boards, I thought I'd blog about the books, the format, and how we are using Vocabulary Workshop.

My older kids have/had used the upper levels of Vocabulary Workshop as part of their high school English studies.  I liked the straight-forward format and especially liked the growth in the kids' everyday vocabularies so when it came time to choose a vocab book for Daisy, I immediately decided on Vocabulary Workshop.

Vocabulary Workshop books are separated into two segments:
Each book in the series has corresponding online content.  For Color Levels, the content consists of games such as hangman, concentration, word scramble and crossword puzzles plus printable word cards and graphic organizers.  Games are also available for Levels A-H plus (for A-F) " iWordsTM Interactive Audio Program includes definitions, pronunciations, and examples of usage for all 300 words per Level."  The newer 2011 Color Level edition online content will also feature the iWords Interactive Audio according to the website.  To preview the online components for Color Levels 2006 edition and Levels A-H just select the level desired and "student".

In addition to viewing the online samples (see this level A ordering page scrolling to the bottom) I used the online components to select which level in which to place Daisy.  She easily unscrambled all the words and completed the puzzles for Blue Level (grade 5) but hit a number of unknown words for the first several units in Level A (grade 6).

As I do not have a copy of the Color Levels, the rest of this entry will be based on the Level A-H books.

The eight books follow the same format with 15 units of 20 vocabulary words, review for every three units, four cumulative reviews (units 1-6, 1-9, 1-12 and 1-15), followed by a final mastery test.

Each unit begins by introducting the words with pronunciation guides, part(s) of speech, illustrative sentences, and lists of synonyms and antonyms:

followed by a Completing the Sentence activity
synonyms and antonyms

a Choosing the Right Word activity
and Vocabulary in Context with a reading passage

The review sections for each group of three units have their own structure.  All questions are multiple choice.  First is a reading section with 10-12 multiple choice questions

then Grammar in Context (Level A covers sentences vs sentence fragments, subject-verb agreement, adjectives vs adverbs, pronoun-antecedent agreement, and misplaced modifiers)

completing passages with two words from the units

choosing the right meaning

more antonyms

word families

word associations

and a section based on word roots (Level A covers de-, re-, -log, -logue, co-, col-, com-, con-, cor- and pre-)

The cumulative review sections cover more analogies, choosing the right meaning for a passage, two-word completions, and "enriching your vocabulary" with previously-unseen words.

The final mastery test consists of (for Level A) 25 multiple-choice select the meaning of a word within a phrase, 15 choosing pairs of antonyms, 15 fill-in-the-blank to best complete the sentence, 10 matching generally unfavorable words with descriptive sentences, 10 matching generally favorable words, and 25 multiple-choice choosing the word/expression that best completes the meaning of a sentence.

How do we use Vocabulary Workshop?
I asign one unit per full week of school (weeks with holidays are skipped, unless a shorter cumulative review is next).  Daisy knows that she needs to have all the sections in each unit finished by Friday.  She tends to do two sections on three days each week.  She likes to split them up as Definitions + Vocabulary in Context, Antonyms + Choosing the Right Word, and Completing the Sentence + Synonyms.

On Friday I orally quiz her on the words including spellings. 

I grade the review and cumulative review portions.

Does one needed the Teacher's Edition?
If you are comfortable with vocabulary, you should be fine without the TE.  I've read my older daughter's Level G and haven't yet found a question I couldn't answer. 

How will we use Vocabulary Workshop in the future?
Next year, Daisy's 6th grade year, she will start with Level B which should be finished sometime in January.  She will then move into Level C which may or may not be finished during the school year.  If not, she'll continue in her 7th grade year.  If so, she'll move into Level D, and so on.

How does one purchase Vocabulary Workshop?
I purchased my books directly from Sadlier-Oxford.  The $7.95 shipping rate for orders under $60 is high when ordering just one level.  I combined multiple levels in one order to decrease my per-book shipping costs.  If you are lucky, you can find used copies on Amazon or other reselling sites.

1 comment:

  1. This is very helpful. We are starting the Orange Level next year :)