Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mastering Vocabulary

Wooden, Letters, We, Word, Wall  In math, its harder to teach vocabulary because there are three levels of language involved. 
1. General words such as hello, bye, or good.

2.  Words with both mathematical and general definitions such as plane, or product.

3. Words that are primarily mathematical such as Torus (doughnut shaped), or Polygon.

When we work with students, especially those who are ELL, we need ways to make sure they understand the vocabulary.  I've developed several ways to work on vocabulary.

1.  A word wall - I have a spare place in the room I use for a word wall.  A word wall is a place where you post both words and definitions that students help create.  I came across this 8 page pdf with tons of ideas on using the word wall in class.  The suggestions include having a pairs of students select two words and discuss how they are related.  I love this because it gives suggestions for actively integrating the word wall into teaching.

2. Word cloud - a way of placing all the associated words together such as types of numbers, addition, or subtraction.

3.  Graphic organizers with the word, definitions both mathematical and general, pictures, examples and non-examples.

4. Graphic organizers showing all the words relating for a specific section such as transformations would have translations, dilations, reflections, etc.

5. Flash cards - students create their own digitally or on 3 by 5 cards so they can practice them as needed.

6. Create posters for each word or set of associated words.

7.  Write a short paragraph using the vocabulary words.

8.  Write word problems using assigned numbers and words.

9. Create lists of homophones and then use them in sentences.

This is a short list of possibilities but each one helps students create the knowledge they need to do well in math.

Let me know what your think.