May 28, 2021

Weekly Word Challenge

Launched in Collect on Wednesday 5th May, the Weekly Word Challenge has been shaking up the language students use day to day, in and out of the classroom, throughout the Summer term. Each Thursday during PSHE, students are given three new words to use in various contexts across the week. When a student uses one of Weekly Words correctly during a lesson or spots a teacher using one, they can earn a merit. Literacy Development Lead and English teacher, Leana Mikula, who initiated the Challenge was inspired by her research into the way children learn new vocabulary and was keen to create a fun and engaging activity. Leana explained, “Although at Leighton Park there is little evidence of a literacy gap within the student body, there is always room for challenge and I really wanted to build sophistication in the use of vocabulary right from Year 7 upwards. I try to pick words that Years 7 to 9 might have seen around but not known what they mean or how to use them. With the older students I’ve tried to be more challenging and give them at least one word a week that they probably haven’t seen before.”


Pupils in Years 7 to 9 have enjoyed trying out their Weekly Words across the curriculum and attempting to integrate words like duality, adjacent, metamorphosis, justify, advocate and ambiguous into their communications. Those for Year 10 and above have strived to improve vocabulary through words like diffident, auspicious, non-sequitur, appropriation, sublime, tautology, insouciance, recapitulate and paradigm, offering plenty of variety in the extension of their linguistic range.


An additional element to the Challenge is to use the Weekly Words as inspiration for a written, oral or visual creation, such as writing a story, poem, essay or article, creating a piece of artwork or sculpture, or recording a podcast or mini play. They can be submitted to Leana for any Weekly Word throughout the term.


Leana’s other initiatives since September have included the introduction of a Literacy Mat to remind students of key grammatical and spelling rules, an oral presentation workshop with the Sixth Form and the delivery of ‘Storytelling Week’ during Lockdown #3.

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