Monday, November 12, 2012

Mrs. Knight's Jar of Knowledge

One thing I have already noticed this year is my students struggle with math and science vocabulary so I came up with a few different activities to incorporate vocabulary practice without taking a ton of time away from the foundational lessons.

Jar of Knowledge
First, I made a list of math and science vocabulary words that we have already discussed in class or specific words I have noticed  my students struggle with. I also included higher level verbs that might show up in test questions.
Then I cut them up and keep them in my "Jar of Knowledge". I have not decorated my jar yet but hopefully you can see the potential! This jar can be used in a few different ways:

- Pull one word from the jar and ask the students to write a sentence using the word. You can also specify if the word has to be used at the beginning, end or in the middle of the sentence to make the assignment a little more challenging.
- Pull a word for each student and have them give you a definition of the word in their own words to check for understanding. You can also ask for synonyms/antonyms or any related words.
- Pull 3-5 words from the jar and have your students write a story using each word at least once.

Vocabulary Charts
My students needed a way to categorize our vocabulary words that we can use all the time in class. I created Vocabulary Charts for all the main topics we will discuss this year in math and science. As we discuss each topic, we write related words around the main word. I post these around the room so the students can see the words all year long and hopefully created deeper connections.

Math example:

Science example:

These can also be used for written vocabulary practice. I choose one topic every Friday, have my students brainstorm ideas for 30 seconds and then my students write about it in their journal for 2 minutes straight. Their pencils are not allowed to leave the page until my timer sounds. You will be amazed how well this works as a spiral review along with improving their writing skills.
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