CLARKSVILLE—Two teams representing Clinton-Massie Elementary School recently competed in the WordMasters Challenge annual national vocabulary competition involving nearly 250,000 students from across the United States. This enrichment program, now in its 26th year, helps students improve vocabulary skills by using analogies.
Competing in the Blue Division and earning the top spot as WordMasters Challenge Fourth Grade Champion was Eli Stiverson, who finished with an individual score of 55/60. Also competing in the Blue Division and earning the title of WordMasters Challenge Fifth Grade Champion was Christina Tidwell, who achieved an individual score of 48/60. Both students earned certificates of recognition, WordMasters medals, and Stiverson won an iTunes gift card and Tidwell a Wal-Mart gift card.
Coaching the students as they prepared for the WordMasters Challenge was Gifted Intervention Specialist Curt Bradshaw. “The WordMasters Challenge is a very useful tool to help students develop verbal reasoning abilities, address and interact with higher-order thinking skills, and emphasize logic and reading comprehension,” said Bradshaw. “The students really look forward to learning new words and understanding their relationships in analogies through a fun competitive format.”
According to Bradshaw, students utilized a variety of strategies to deconstruct the vocabulary and make meaning through context and verbal reasoning—the use of analogy exercises, Google presentations on their student netbook computers, rubrics to self-assess technology projects, and classroom games of “Password.” Students even enjoyed rounds of “Stump Mr. Bradshaw” during Password play. Students exercised the highest level of thinking skills when they created their own analogies with their words and then attempted to perplex other students in the class.
The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably more difficult than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. The established format consists of three challenge meets throughout the school year with 25 new challenge words in each meet, for a total of 75 new words by the end of the school year.
“Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically,” said Bradshaw.
Other students competing in the this year’s WordMasters Challenge competition include fourth-graders Korey Anderson, Drake Bennett, Sydney Crowe, Luke Goodwin, Jenna Hanlon, Shayne Hendricks, Julianna Hrebenach, Marty Kreider, Josefine Majdoch, Isaiah McCoy, Maddie Phipps, Connor Stulz, and William Tidwell. Competing at the fifth-grade level were Vanessa Asher, Brett Bailey, Lauren Baker, AnnaBelle Boone, Jacob Campbell, Luke Elsasser, Colton Holdren, Hailey Hubbard, Ethan Johnson, Matthew Martin, Elizabeth Mason, Evan McCollister, Sarah Norton, Malachi O’Leary, Brian Poston, Colton Trampler, Layla Vineyard, and Riley Wahsum.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.