Today I'm starting with the most important method - students need to SEE the words they are learning.
When introducing a new vocabulary word like 'articulate, or dividend, or expository,' it's extremely helpful for students to SEE what this word looks like so they can make a visual connection in their brain. Here's how I help my students SEE new academic vocabulary words.
* If it's a verb, students need to SEE it in action - if the word is 'articulate' I model for my students how to 'articulate' my thinking, I show them on the board by writing out a clearly articulated answer to a story problem or on an anchor chart. Then I have students practice 'articulating' their thoughts to a partner.
* Students love to SEE each other doing silly things so I have student volunteers ACT OUT 'articulating' the answer to a problem. Play vocabulary charades!
* If it's a noun or other part of speech - I DRAW lots of pictures of what the term looks like or does. I will also have the students draw their own representations and share them.
* If the word is 'dividend or expository, I will show what the word is by writing out a division problem and circling the 'dividend' so the students can SEE it. I draw lots of arrows pointing to the dividend to help them remember. If the word is something I can display, like real 'expository' texts from my classroom library, I will pass them around for students to SEE and touch.
* Most importantly, I keep all of these visual representations available for students to SEE for a LONG time. Students need MULTIPLE exposures to a new vocabulary word before they reach mastery.
* I keep my visual representations posted all year long on our classroom word walls. Every time we learn a new word I take out the word wall card, show it off, pass it around, discuss it, have students use it to make their own flash card, and then I make a BIG DEAL out of adding it to our word wall. I also point it out on the word wall EVERY TIME we use, discuss, or see that word happening in the classroom! Here's a few shots of word walls I've had over the past few years. Click on the photo if you're interested in viewing the word wall set on TPT.
After I've introduced new words to my students and given them lots of visual representations, I move on to the next method which is WRITE about the words.
Click HERE to read installment number two of this blog series and learn how we WRITE about new academic vocabulary words in our classroom.