Thursday, August 23, 2007

More questions for the brilliant:

I meant to post these earlier, but I got into teaching and then we went out to eat because darnit, I was tired and didn't feel like cooking (neither did The Man) and then it turned out that it was the final day that The Valet would be at the theater, so we went to see that and now I'm ready for bed. Yeep! Anyway -

How the hell do I teach vocabulary? Drill-and-grill hasn't worked. Incorporating it into their own writing isn't working (yet? maybe I just haven't given it enough time? I don't know...) and I'm not sure what else to do.

Uh... there's another question somewhere, but it's time for bed. Kzonk.

PS: If you get a chance, go see the movie. It ruled.

7 comments:

Dana Huff said...

I like vocabulary cards, which I adapted from Jim Burke's idea for vocabulary squares. Let me know if you are interested, and I shoot you the handout.

The Science Goddess said...

I have several strategies---depending on the term. One I really recommend is Marzano's idea of having the kids draw a symbol for the word. For example, a picture of a flower for the word "flower," but the picture can be anything that engages the right side of the brain in learning the term. If kids are just writing, they're only going to store it in the left hemisphere. Double their chances by having them draw. Certainly they should continue to add information as appropriate during the unit (synonyms, forms, etc.).

DrPezz said...

I have my students draw the weekly words (we share them for five minutes on Wed., Thurs., and Fri.), find synonyms, and compose sentences (sometimes related to a theme). Scores have risen dramatically since I started a weekly routine with these activities (sharing is a big part).

Athena said...

I'm trying Ms. Huff's vocabulary cards and Burke's list of academic vocabulary for my 10th graders. I thought I could try having them write an essay (they need to write as much as possible) every week on one word. I don't like the weekly lists and weekly quiz. They forget the words within 1 week after the test. Athena

Mrs. Chili said...

Where do the vocabulary words come from? I prefer to teach vocabulary in a more organic way (don't you just HATE that term? "Organic." What the frick does that mean, anyway?!).

Sorry...

As I was saying, I prefer to teach vocabulary as it comes up (but, then again, I have that luxury where I teach). For example, there are a few words in the reading I gave my students to do this weekend that I KNOW FOR SURE they don't know. Begrudge. Inexplicable. Writhe. I warned the kids to look up any words they don't know - I'm going to put the words I suspect they wouldn't know on a worksheet and see how they do with them.

I think that learning words in context is a much more effective way of collecting vocabulary than using lists and drills. My eight year old - a voracious reader - comes up with words that surprise even me. She knows what they mean (I know because I stop her and ask) and she's able to integrate them into her OWN speech because she's seen them used in the writing she reads. That's about the strongest evidence I can imagine...

Clix said...

The vocabulary does come from the reading; however, in most cases, they come across the word once (in only one of the stories). And, alas, once in context is like NEVER enough for them to learn it. Sooo...

Dana - yes pleez! :D clicketykeys (at) yahoo (dot) com - thanks!

Repairman said...

Like SG said, drawing works well for vocab, even if it's once around (they'll see it again somewhere).

I also used to have students draw out "mental movies," linked images (a form of mnemonic) that helped them remember a sequence of hard-to-recall fragments of content that are required in our standards, like the goals of the US Constitution.

The only frustrating aspect is that good learning takes time. If you're overloaded with standards and learning goals, getting through all your curriculum can be a chore (heck, I never did!).

(Side note: I'm glad we're moving to the prioritization of learning standards in our district -- "power standards.")

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