Friendly online competition also promotes team spirit, as schools band together to beat their cross-town rivals
HISD’s Bellaire and Chávez high schools usually face off against each other on the football field or the basketball court, but this year, those campuses are taking their rivalry to the Internet, and fighting for dominance in a more ethereal realm.
Students at all secondary campuses began using a free, fun, educational website called Vocabulary.com this year in a bid to increase their literacy skills—and as of the week ending Oct. 31, Chávez was in the lead with 6,918 words mastered, while Bellaire was in third place with 6,671.
“Students always like competition,” explained Chávez HS English teacher Lindsey Waller, “especially when it is against others in the district.”
Principal Rene Sánchez credited Waller and his other English teachers with pushing Chávez HS over the top. “They’ve had us in the top 10 since we adopted it earlier in the year,” he said. “And one day after they trained all the other teachers, our students took the national lead.”
“Because students can use their phones for this, we have had a great deal of buy in,” added Chávez English teacher Sherri Huggins. “Students who do little else for my class will work on the vocabulary lists I have created, since it is like a game.”
Principal Sánchez noted that the use of this resource dovetails nicely with the district’s Literacy By 3 movement. “This will definitely help us meet our literacy goals,” he said.