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Get ready. This is a long blog post reviewing a new product from the makers of the Latin program we use (Visual Latin - and if you missed my post about that, click here to check it out).
This product is: Word Up! The Vocab Show and is a new vocabulary program for ages 10 and up.
What it is
WordUp! The Best Way to Learn Vocabulary from Latin & Greek Roots Dwane Thomas, of Visual Latin fame, stars in a zany new show teaching Latin and Greek roots, as well as hundreds of English vocabulary words. Utilizing a new approach to learning, WordUp! seriously expands a student’s grasp of the vocabulary used in literature, science, and standardized tests.
Each DVD or download set includes:
See the trailer below and scroll down for my review.
Let me start by telling you that we currently use Compass Classroom's Visual Latin. And also, we love it. We also love Dwayne Thomas (the teacher in the series and the teacher in this new product, Word Up! The Vocab Show) because the lessons are not dry, but interesting and humorous at times.
Now let's talk about Word Up! The Vocab Show.
I received this product in exchange for doing a review. I want to say that despite the fact we are current users of Visual Latin and despite the fact that we do like Dwayne Thomas in how he presents the lessons in Visual Latin, I am providing an honest and balanced review of this product from my perspective (homeschooling mother/teacher) and from my son's perspective who helped me test it out (a 12-year-old homeschooling boy).
My son loves it! He's interested in continuing to use it! He's also a boy of few words and his review was basically: "It's cool!" When I pressed him for more information about the videos, he said: "It's fun!" So, there ya go - a 12-year-old boy's review of the video lessons.
I, however, have more to say (as a homeschooling Mom and adult).
The videos lessons hold the student's attention well due to being visually stimulating and entertaining. Learning with humor? Yes! The lessons are short in length (12-15 min each) which is great!
Each lesson covers two roots with several vocabulary words for each root. The video lessons come with online flashcards, games, quizzes, spelling practice, and more to review and test comprehension. I found that these complimented the video lessons nicely! The flashcards are a great way to review after watching the lesson. The first flashcard clearly states to "click to flip" and then after you move to the next flashcard, it doesn't state that. It took us a minute to figure out that all the cards flip the same way by clicking the card even though it stopped saying it. (Derp!)
Besides the flashcards online, there is a practice quiz that gives the student the definition and the student must fill in the word. It's a great way to test knowledge/retention - and it gives immediate feedback to let the student know if they got it wrong or right.
Another features is the spelling practice. The computer states the word, and the student types the word into the space provided. Again, it gives immediate feedback to let the student know they got it wrong or right...and if they got it wrong, it corrects it on the screen and spells out the correct word audibly.
Each lesson has an online test and you have the option of setting up the test with the types of questions you prefer (such as written, matching, multiple choice, or true/false).
There are two games for each lesson: a scatter game which has the student match up the words with the definition (while a stopwatch-like clock is counting up). The goal is to beat your time each time you do it and get faster and faster. HOWEVER, if you have a kid like mine who freaks out about stuff that is set up as a "race against a clock" this won't be a favorite activity. You can't turn the timer off, either. But you can tell your student to not stress out about the timer (like I did) and just let them focus on the activity.
The other game is a "race game" which really will only work for those students who can type well (have learned keyboarding/typing) so they can type out the word before it reaches the other side of the screen. My son was unable to do that game since we have only just begun typing lessons with any seriousness.
So, let me sum up by saying this: this is a great new product with additional series that are expected to follow. It is set up with video lessons (by DVD or video download, your choice) and online activities which will make this great for independent learners. Oh, and here's the BEST part: it's only $9.99! You can even download two lessons free to sample the program. By sampling it, you can see if you like Dwayne's presentation of the material and if you think it would be a