Tuesday, December 11, 2012

American History Vocabulary Football League

One of the most important parts of teaching history is helping students to learn vocabulary. However, many of my students traditionally struggled in their history classes due to difficulty with content and academic vocabulary. I wanted a way to make learning essential vocab more engaging for them and hit upon the idea of combining it with their love for football and competition.

The resulting Vocabulary Football League (VFL) has completely revolutionized my teaching. An otherwise dreary activity becomes much more fun and I have students actually LOOKING FORWARD TO QUIZZES now! This entire year-long package can be downloaded here.

How it works is each week students are placed in groups of 4 and assigned a real NFL team. Each week they are given a set of 12-15 words like the one below:

Over the course of that week, we cover that material and students are responsible for looking up and defining those words in the notebook like so:

At the end of the week, students take a 10 question vocab quiz on those words. To differentiate for learners in my classes, I allow some classes to take the quiz open notebook, others to use a word bank, and my upper level students are not allowed any resources. Allowing students to take quizzes open notebook encourages them to complete the definitions for homework on their own time and I've found helps vocabulary comprehension. Here is a sample vocab quiz on the Revolutionary War:

I have students write their answers on the opposite side to ease grading and prevent cheating. Included in this download are all 16 sets of VFL vocabulary terms from US History that cover the early colonies through World War II and 32 corresponding quizzes. Since my students sit in groups at tables, I created 2 different versions of each quiz (hence 32 quizzes for 16 sets of words). .As a bonus, I included 2 "playoff" quizzes and a "Super Bowl" that use terms from throughout the year. 

I have been doing this with my classes for 6 years now and they all LOVE it! The kids get so into the competition that it turns quiz day into an exciting event! Inside the zipped folder you will find a directions sheet with all 32 teams to use, your 16 lists of vocabulary ready to print, and all 19 quizzes ready to go. This can last you all year long!!

Hope you find this project as powerful as I have!!

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