I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
A few months ago my son completed a grade 7 vocabulary course he’d been taking over the previous year, but he wasn’t yet ready to jump into high school vocab. When the opportunity arose for us to review Vocabulary Virtuoso: Mastering Middle School Vocabulary I was eager for him to try it out because my children have used many products by The Critical Thinking Co.™ in the past, and always with great results.
Over the past several weeks my middle-schooler has been using Vocabulary Virtuoso to enrich his word knowledge while using his new vocabulary in context through varied exercises.
Table of contents
What we Received
Vocabulary Virtuoso is set up for grades 6-8 and each of the 15 lessons includes 12 words from PSAT vocabulary lists. Each lesson is 10-11 pages in length. They are easy to schedule into a student’s week for 3, 4, or 5 days per lesson. The lessons follow this structure:
- Vocabulary List – the 12 words are listed on a single page and include the part of speech, pronunciation, definition, and associated words such as synonyms, antonyms, phrases, and idioms.
- Choose one of the 3 provided words to complete each of 12 sentences.
- Use the word bank to complete 12 sentences.
- Story Challenge – Use the words in the word bank to fill in the blanks in a story about a fictional middle school.
- There are 12 sentences, each with an underlined word which is associated with one of the vocab words. At the end of the sentence students unscramble a word to find out which vocab word is being represented.
- The 12 vocab words are listed and the student chooses the correct word, idiom, or phrase that best defines it from the bank at the top of the page.
- Use each vocabulary word in a sentence.
We received a digital copy of this book. The Critical Thinking Co.™ works a little differently from most companies with their digital products. I needed to download the software using a serial number that was sent to me. This lived an an icon on my laptop. When I want to view the book, I click on the icon and it opens as a “Copy Protected eBook.” Each lesson is bookmarked for convenience as a linked table of contents on the left of the screen.
I believe one could type ‘in’ the ebook, but I’m trying to get my children away from screens and a book is more portable. When I printed the book each margin has the text, “These copyrighted pages are digitally coded with a unique buyer identifier. Distribution is prohibited.”
I attempted to print each lesson as ‘booklets’ so that I could have it with 2 pages on each sheet of paper, which happened, but I was unable to get it to print on both sides of the paper, despite my printer being set up for it. I cut the paper in half so each page was a sheet of its own and then I used a comb binder to create 3 booklets of 5 lessons each. This keeps all the sheets tidy and means they won’t become ‘lost.’
How We Used This Middle School Vocabulary Course
Tristan has been completing a middle school vocabulary lesson a week over 4 days in the following manner:
- Vocabulary list review, (A) complete the 24 sentences using one of the 3 choices given.
- (B) Complete 12 sentences using vocab words from the word bank; (C) complete the story using the 12 vocab words in the word bank.
- (D) In each of 12 sentences an underlined word is a synonym, idiom, phrase, or definition for one of the vocab words. unscramble each word given to the side to determine which vocab word applies. (E) Match each vocab word to its definition.
- (F) Write a sentence using each vocab word in context.
There is an answer key included at the back of the book, which I printed out and keep separately for correcting.
Ways to Expand The Lessons
If you are so inclined, you could set up quizzes for students to spell and give the definitions of the vocabulary words, either written or orally. Alternatively, a fun game of Bingo could easily be created with a mix of vocab words and idioms/synonyms/antonyms/definitions and one is called out and the matching word covered on the board (note to self: try this out).
What do we think about Vocabulary Virtuoso?
Once again, The Critical Thinking Co.™ is on the ball with middle school vocabulary. Vocabulary Virtuoso isn’t a simply a matter of memorizing definitions; students will learn how to use these words in context, as well as using them interchangeably with additional words, thus further increasing their working knowledge of the English language.
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