The Vocabulary.com Road Trip launched in January with a mission: get our team out there to meet innovative educators across the country who are dedicated to increasing their students' word power. And boy, did we hit the jackpot on our first stop in Denver! Teachers from as far as Mead and Colorado Springs converged at Shanahan's Steakhouse in the Denver Tech Center on February 2 for a raucous night of wordy fun.
The night began with a fierce-but-friendly competition to be the first to complete a practice session based on our 25-word "Magical Mystery List" and then guess the words' original text. Jefferson County librarian Lori Pauk was the first to deduce that the mysterious set of words including carcass, shilling, and gibbet, was plucked from Jonathan Swift's classic satire "A Modest Proposal."
Between rounds of games, food and drinks, educators discussed how they're using Vocabulary.com in their schools and classrooms. Kelly Havens, a middle school teacher from Woodland Park, explained that her students have access to Chromebooks with lots of apps, but that Vocabulaty.com "is the one that our kids love the most. They challenge each other and see where they're ranking. They want to be on the top of our leaderboard. Sometimes students... will say something like, 'Oh man, I'm third now!' It's hilarious and great to see them having so much fun. The kids will also add words that they want to learn to their learning program based on what they read. So we'll create the next week's vocab set based upon what they've given us as feedback."
Lindsey Burris, a 5th grade teacher from Palmer Lake Elementary School, described how she envisions using Vocabulary.com with her advanced learners: "My advanced learning students have regular reading tests which get progressively harder, and they struggle as it gets more intense. Vocabulary.com is going to be the easy fix for me to be able to differentiate to meet their needs."
There were also newcomers to Vocabulary.com in attendance. Dr. Yvonne Henderson, Vista Academy Language Arts teacher, gathered ideas about how she could implement Vocabulary.com in her classroom: "For our bell ringer, or warm-up, I'll have the students login and practice vocabulary while I do attendance. I love the fact that I can take the text and instantaneously create my vocabulary list. I have downloaded texts for all my students' readings, so this will be a great and easy way to give them further support."
The second half of the evening was dedicated to some spirited team play. Teams such as The Elated Educators, Quiet Anarchy and Team Brainy formed by finding teammates (and kindred spirits, it turned out!) based on word stickers they wore.
Teams ran the lexical gauntlet of answering ten mercilessly difficult Vocabulary.com questions (stumping even the biggest logophiles in attendance) and then harnessing their creative energies to compose vocabulary-inspired haikus and limericks, such as this beauty:
Each word is a pearl
Rolling off the tongue with style
Make every word count.
Thanks Colorado, and Keep in Touch!
Thanks to all of you hard-working educators who came out in Colorado to make the first stop on the Vocabulary.com Road Trip stop a resounding success! Teachers had a much-deserved night out and brought back some great ideas for how they can jump-start word-learning in their schools. Our team was inspired to meet you in person, and we want to hear all about your successes and ideas as you and your students play and learn on Vocabulary.com.
Next destination... Atlanta!
Before you know it, we'll be packing our bags and heading south for the next stop on the Vocabulary.com Road Trip: Atlanta on March 2! If you're in the area, grab a free ticket and join us at ONE. midtown kitchen for a fun night which you can honsetly say is an "important professional development event."
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