Why Membean?


To start his English class for the day Grant Souder (10) prepares for a 15 minute Membean session.

Hannah Myers, Editor

You walk into English class and sit down to open your computer getting ready to start off class that day. The teacher walks in and says, “Okay! Ten minutes of Membean to get us started!” This is met with a mix of groans and excitement from the students as they dutifully begin their session.


Membean is a tool used to help build students vocabulary for things like Keystones, SATs, assignments, or just everyday vocabulary skills.  The program is individualized for every student, so students are not learning the same words at the same time like a normal vocabulary list that parents are used to from their school days.


In every English class at James Buchanan, you are required to do between 30-45 minutes of Membean every week. Some of the work is done at home and the rest is done during class time.


Membean has been the vocabulary program of choice for two years, and was originally introduced four years ago by Mrs. Jane Yoder, a former JBHS English teacher.All students have done it sometime in their high school career and this has also been implemented into the middle school vocabulary curriculum, as well.


The three English teachers for 9th and 10th grade basically use Membean the same way in their classroom. They have developed a routine to include something called “Vocab Fridays” to implement Membean into reading.


“I have them do 15 minutes in class Monday and Wednesday and 10 minutes on Fridays,” said Mrs. Peggy Stum (Faculty).


Ms. Kelley Reeder (Faculty) and Ms. Nicole Myers (Faculty), along with Stum, decided to expand upon Membean this year: they made an assignment called the Membean Portfolio which students will begin in ninth grade and continue throughout high school.


“They do some activities with the Portfolio using their Membean words,” said Stum.


The portfolio asks students to interact with their words in various manners and create something new with these words.


“These activities are meant to be fun.  They write songs, odes, make videos with their friends,” said Reeder.  “They really do help the words to stick in your brain and then there is real learning of those terms as they actually are USING them.”


Some of the teachers in the school are able to see a difference in the students vocabulary because they have been working so much with the Membean tool.


“I have definitely seen an impact on my students from Membean,” Stum said.


The English teachers of the school are not the only people who are noticing the difference in the students vocabulary. They are seeing these words in essays and even in classroom conversations where they are discussing vocabulary from a story. It is not uncommon to hear a student explain, “That’s a Membean word!”


“I love learning the new words and congratulating people when I hear them use the words,” Madison Dorsey (11) said.


Dorsey has to do Membean for her AP Language Class, so she does 35 minutes of Membean every week.


“I am a dedicated Membeaner,” said Dorsey


Membean has become a crucial vocabulary tool for the students of James Buchanan. The teachers here are incorporating it into their classrooms in order to enhance vocabulary instruction and helps students love the online tool as much as they do.