The New York Times Learning Network has announced this year’s winners of their annual 15-Second Vocabulary Video Contest. You can see them all here.
Here’s one example:
I’ve often used Instagram videos with English Language Learner students to create similar videos. In fact, The Learning Network used videos from my class as examples to introduce the first year of its contest.
I think it’s an excellent learning activity, particularly for English Language Learners. In fact, the Network used a video created by one of my students as a model when they began the first year of the contest.
Paste in a text, and you get all sorts of stuff in return — word clouds sorted in various categories, images of words to enhance understanding, sentences showing the words in context, word webs, and more!
In one way, I’m not sure exactly how helpful it will be to teachers, since the studies it reviews don’t appear to narrow down effective teaching strategies very much. On the other hand, though, its conclusion that doing lots of different kinds seems to be best could also be used by many of us to support what we’re already doing.
It does come down firmly on the side of teaching context clues, and specifically mentions using clozes (which is one of my favorite instructional strategies (see The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills) ). It also supports explicit instruction of words that students will encounter in a specific text, though it doesn’t seem to specify if it’s better to pre-teach them or teach them as they come-up (I do both).
I also noted that it highlighted the effectiveness of teaching up to twelve new academic words each week to English Language Learners, which is what I do but which is in conflict with Robert Marzano’s recommendation of a substantially smaller number.
I’d say it’s worth a look. I also was impressed with its ample bibliography, which includes easy-to-access links.