As Metro schools begin classes today, they are also starting a system-wide initiative to improve student vocabulary.
This year every student, from kindergarten through 12th grade, will carry a vocabulary workbook from class to class. Language Arts Coordinator Gary Cowan says the books were designed by a team of Metro teachers charged with creating a way to help students gain a full understanding of key terminology. He says when important words are introduced, students will use the workbooks to complete a set of activities.
“A lot of times in the past, I think the pedagogy we’ve used is that you give them words, they would look them up in the dictionary, and they would write a dictionary definition down and try to use the word in a sentence, but they may not really understand that dictionary definition. So we want students to be able to come up with their own description of the word, to be able to really internalize that and continue to refine their understanding of the word and track that in their notebook.”
Cowan says the workbooks won’t introduce brand new techniques to teachers so much as they’ll allow the district to take a systemic approach.
Metro schools spent 486-thousand dollars designing and printing the books. About 74-thousand students are enrolled in the district.