Development of the Word Station Program:
With SAT/ACT/TAKS scores needing improvement, The Word Station Team decided to get busy. The process began with compiling SAT/ACT/Testing materials and feeding the vocabulary words into spreadsheets (literally thousands of words). The spreadsheets were correlated and the words most commonly used became our word walls. Once the word wall words were identified, we broke the words into stems and those became our stem wall. The words were then broken into grade levels six through twelve. The easier words with the first hundred stems became our TWS 6th Grade Word Wall, the next hundred by degree of difficulty are the seventh grade, eighth grade and so on through the twelfth grade.
As an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor, founder Gay Becker recognized the English Language Learner’s ( ELL) struggle concerning vocabulary, and realized there was a need for the Word Station system within the ESL classroom. TWS then developed a unique approach, with the goal of putting our ELL’s on a more level playing field. From our experience, Spanish speakers struggle with knowing SAT/ACT/Testing materials in their primary language. The Word Station created a Spanish/English Word Wall that bridges that gap. The English words are translated into Spanish for easy transfer to the second language. The Teachers Manuals are still focused on the English delivery as our state and national testing is delivered in English.
Vocabulary is a concern for students not only across grade levels, but across disciplines as well. The Word Station delivers Word Walls using morphemic analysis in math (6-12 including Calculus, Geometry, and Algebra), science (6-12 to include physics), and social studies (6-12 including Geography, World History, American History, and Economics). These walls are offered in English/Spanish as well to provide the transfer from primary to secondary language for ELL Learners. The Word Station Word Walls identify Latin, Greek, French, and Old and Middle English stems in the brown shades (Latin), purple (Greek), blue (French), and green (Old and Middle English).
How the Word Station Program Works:
The Word Station is a curriculum wide team approach that allows students to revisit stems taught at the middle school level again in the high school. The sixth grade will learn one hundred stems used in the identified two hundred sixth grade vocabulary words; the seventh grade another one hundred stems and vocabulary words, and the eighth grade the final hundred stems with vocabulary. When the student leaves the middle school, they have been given a working knowledge of three hundred stems and six hundred SAT/ACT/Testing Vocabulary. With the foundation in place, the student enters high school with the tools needed for the next step of vocabulary development. The stems that were taught in the sixth grade are revisited in the ninth grade with a more advanced level of vocabulary, the seventh grade stems are revisited in the tenth grade with vocabulary, and the eighth grade stems in the eleventh grade with a more advanced vocabulary. The Word Wall system is a powerful tool for success in all levels of TAKS testing, especially for students taking the 11th grade exit exam. Twelfth grade is where students experience a comprehensive review of all the words and stems in effort to raise their college test scores.