The battle for Vocabulary.com's school leaderboard is getting intense! As New York's Brooklyn Technical High School becomes the latest school to top the hotly contested rankings, the competition is attracting national media attention, with an article in USA Today on how students are rising to the challenge.
Brooklyn Tech students fought tooth and nail to win December's Champions' Banner, determined not to replay their number two performance the month before, when they failed to topple Florida's Corkscrew Middle School. This time around, Brooklyn Tech students accumulated more than 25 million points, beating out valiant Tucker High School of Georgia by about 3 million points. Brooklyn Tech students also mastered more than 8,000 words, an impressive feat. Students at more than 11,000 schools in the United States and Canada have joined in the competition over the past year.
At the presentation of the Champions Banner to Brooklyn Tech, Marc Williams, Assistant Principal of English and Music, spoke about both the competition driving the game, and the real-world implications that vocabulary learning has for academic and financial success. "Students in my class say, 'I really am getting a grasp of difficult vocabulary,'" Williams said. "At the end of the day the benefit of expanding vocabulary knowledge is huge."
During the ceremony, three students who had accumulated more than a million points each spoke about their experience on the site. "I like that I can see how much I know and that you can keep going until you get it right. And the competition helped a lot. The competition kept it going," said Tom Fogle.
Timothy Truong Jr. added, "In English class, learning vocabulary meant you just copy and paste from the Internet, but with Vocabulary.com you actually learn the words."
Finally, Cynthia Chu described how the feedback about your word learning helps you continue to play. "You could see if you were getting better at it. The points helped. They immediately made me want to keep going."
Fogle, Truong, and Chu are all taught by Allyson Ambrose in her AP English Language and Composition class. Congratulations to these impressive young vocabularians and to everyone else who contributed to Brooklyn Tech's victory!
In an article in USA Today about the competitive excitement generated by the school leaderboards, Marc Williams reflected on the enthusiasm that the Brooklyn Tech students have shown for vocabulary learning.
Educators long have relied on competitive interscholastic sports to get students excited about being in school, but schools have rarely relied on academic competition to reach more than just top students. That could change soon, as technology enables efforts like this one...
Bring it on, says Brooklyn Tech Assistant Principal Marc Williams, who coordinated the vocabulary effort last month. "As days went by, more and more kids were getting into it," he says. "They really ate it up."
Perhaps more significant, Williams notes, the competition encouraged many boys to get interested in the topic. They tend not to shine in humanities classes, but the competition "might be a hook" to pique their curiosity, he says.
Williams also spoke to New York's Fox 5 News, which was on hand for the banner presentation. You can watch the segment that was shown on Fox 5's evening news broadcast here.
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