Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Monday, September 01, 2008

Vocabulary Lesson

Happy Labor Day to all you hard working, always working teachers out there ! So far, Polski3 has taken this "no-students today" opportunity to do some lesson planning. Among other things, I developed my next list of "Social Studies Vocabulary" that my students need to learn, a list of important, key vocabulary terms for social studies. In the past, I would have put this list up on the board and instructed students to "define each one of these terms, know how to spell it and use it in its proper context". However, I now do something a bit different that I will now share with you.

I put the list up on the board and ask students to copy it on the first column of a three column sheet of paper. The paper is folded in half, vertically, then a second vertical fold is made so that the paper has three columns; one-half the page wide and two columns that are each one-fourth the page wide. Each column can be labeled "Vocabulary", "KNOW" and "NEED TO LEARN". Students then copy the vocabulary terms in the 'half page column. Then, they carefully read each term and decide if they already know the term, know how to spell it and use it in its proper context. If they know this, they can simply check off the first 'one-fourth' of the page wide column. This column is for those terms they KNOW. If they don't know the word, are not sure of its spelling or how to use it in the proper context, they check off the second "one-fourth' page column. This gives students an opportunity to take responsibility for learning their important social studies vocabulary terms. They are not just being assigned to define and learn spelling and context for each term, no, they decide which ones they know and which ones they need to learn. I believe this activity is called a Vocabulary Survey. There are other versions of this out there, including one that has a fourth column for students to check off after they believe they have mastered the vocabulary term. But for my seventh graders, I try to keep it simply. Later, we'll do some review activity using the terms and definitions and students having to match them up and read them to their classmates.

I also made up an assessment activity (aka: Quiz) for one of the first standards I am to teach this fall. I am breaking up the standards into what I hope are small, easier to learn chunks. For example, this section is only for the part of the California Soc. St. Standard for the Reasons for the Decline (Fall) of Rome. The standard also includes Contributions of Rome, but to do all of that together, I believe, would be overwhelming to many of my "never been exposed to history" students. So, break it up into smaller bits.

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Have a Great Week out there in Teacherlandia !