As we continue to interview students in each class, I am writing the common questions and answers on big butcher paper posters that are stuck on the wall in the front of the classroom.

All of these words and phrases are officially listed as “Nice-to-Know”, but this is where the acquisition is happening because it is compelling. They even want to know about students in other classes. They want to know who likes archery, and who plays the ukulele, and who thinks they can sing better than me.

There is an official track too. These are the “Essential” words, but this list is much shorter. The essential words are from three broad categories so far:

1) Useful classroom vocabulary (like write, draw, desk, paper, composition book, pen, name, date, class, etc.).

2) Fun, active story-enhancing verbs (like throws, hits, jumps, points, draws, yells, walks, grabs, etc.)

3) High frequency vocabulary (like has, says, wants, gives, looks, then, so, and, that, etc.)

Which ones do you think they are picking up, the Essential words or the Nice-to-Know words? Almost without conscious extra repetitions on my part they are acquiring huge amounts of vocabulary just as we chat it up with kids in the class. Compelling input! I can’t get over how well it works. Krashen’s compelling input hypothesis in action.