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WordNerds in the Middle School

Hunter W., Staff Writer

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Photos by Hunter W. Membean and Quizlet Logos

Membean, a new vocabulary website, is sweeping the Westminster eighth grade and Upper School, with its fun and interactive way to learn new words.

In Clarkson Hall, learning vocabulary is a major part of the curriculum for English and Language classes. Teachers and students have different preferences on how vocabulary should be taught and learned.

For English classes, teachers try to present vocabulary in a variety of ways. Some use a list of words from a SAT Preparation book that students must memorize, teaching words through a PowerPoint. Others select words from literature studied in class. A few are piloting the newest method, Membean.

Clark Meyer, an eighth grade English teacher, was one of the first in the Middle School to use this new website in his curriculum this year. He was inspired by the enthusiasm that the Upper School teachers showed after using it for two years.

One of the things that Mr. Meyer loves about Membean so far, is the site’s ease of use. He said, “There are a lot of things I like about it. I like that the site individually tailors to the student’s level. I like that way that it cycles words back through on its own automatically, and I also like how it just doesn’t take a lot of set up on my part.”

According to Mr. Meyer, Membean costs the Middle School nothing at the moment because the English department is on a free start up trial.

What eighth grader Savaan S. ­­­­­­­­­likes about Membean is the fact that it takes less time than other methods he has used in previous school years.

“I like Membean because when we have to learn words for homework, we do fifteen-minute sessions of interactive learning instead of having to memorize a long list of words,” he said.


Photo by Hunter W. The student dashboard used on Membean

Foreign language classes partake in the education of vocabulary as well. Unfortunately, the Language classes do not have the ability to use Membean, so they must use other methods.

The language teachers approach teaching vocabulary in a plethora of ways, from Quizlet to Skyping fluent speakers from other countries.

Quizlet is a website that helps students study words and definitions by the use of online flashcards and games.

Kristen Orsini, a Spanish and French teacher, prefers to almost always use Quizlet in her class and thinks it is fairly effective.

Ms. Orsini said, “I think Quizlet is effective in teaching the meaning of vocabulary, but I also have to take it to the next level and have students actually use vocabulary in a real way.”

Henley T., an eighth grade girl, has mixed emotions about Quizlet and the use of it in her language class.

“I like Quizlet because the repetitiveness of it really helps me learn the words in a quick manner. One thing I dislike about it is that when using it, it is all typing, and I prefer to learn vocabulary through writing with paper and pencil,” she said.

When it comes to learning new words, whether through older methods or the latest website, Membean, Westminster middle school students are unequivocally excelling.

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WordNerds in the Middle School