Vocabulary

Jumpstart January Linky and Giveaway 2015–Tips for Keeping Vocabulary Instruction Fresh

Jumpstart January Blog Hop and Giveaway Lesson Deli

Learning new words can be tough and things have changed a lot since I was in 5th grade over 20 years ago.  I remember getting a list of words from my teacher and using the dictionary or textbook glossary to copy the definitions verbatim from the book.  Sometimes we would write the definition a few times or use the new terms to fill in the blanks.  If we were lucky, we got to write a sentence with all 20 words for homework on Tuesday night.  Now, those activities still have their place.  There are times when using words in sentences and locating definitions is necessary and important, but I’ve learned after several years of teaching that those activities alone aren’t sticky, meaning that they don’t help students get to know and use new words.

My goal when teaching vocabulary is to give my students as many real experiences as I can with new words.  Here are my top 4 things to do when teaching vocabulary:

1.  Maximum Exposure–If they can see it, use it, touch it, etc. they are more likely to understand it.  You and I know that a delta is a landform built up when sediment is dropped off at the mouth of a river, right?  But what does that look like?  How does the sediment get there?  Will I ever get to see a delta if I live in west Texas?  Simply showing a satellite photo of a few major deltas in the world can make this term come alive for students.    Pull up an image of the Lena Delta from the Nasa Earth Observatory and talk about it.  But, don’t just show them one delta.  Then pull up an image of a different delta and observe, discuss, and sketch a diagram in science notebooks.  Perhaps the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana.  That second photo will help the new word stick.  Why?  Because now they have enough background to really analyze the Mississippi Delta and start asking some questions.  They’ve seen one and can now make connections between the two pictures.

2.  Variety is the Spice of Life–And also the spice of vocabulary instruction.  If you use the same strategies for every word, every time, students get bored.  Mix things up.  The human brain perks up when something novel is happening.  Use actions to represent words like predator (show claws and fangs) and prey (hands together like saying a prayer “Please don’t let me get eaten.”).  Take student outside with hand lenses to look at the sediments in the sidewalk when talking about cementation.  Hold a debate about whether their are more magnetic things in the room or more non-magnetic things.

3.  Real-World Meanings–Sometimes giving an example or describing a word is more helpful than defining it.  When learning new words, I like to get students to record what they think will help them remember what the word means, and that isn’t always just the definition.  Model different ways to get to know new words and encourage students to write meanings that make sense to them, not just definitions.

4.  YouTube–If you’ve read some of my other posts you know that I love using YouTube in the classroom.  There are some things that can only be experienced live, and YouTube is the closest to live that we’ve got to observe such things as the tides coming in and out or a glacier moving over time.   Give it a try!  A 30 second clip can make a word of difference.

Looking to make vocabulary instruction come alive in your science classroom?  How about a freebie for teaching properties of light that includes a foldable, cut and paste activity, quiz,  AND teaching points for bringing vocabulary alive in the classroom!

Proprerties of Light Vocabulary Freebie

Click the image to download a vocabulary unit for teaching Properties of Light.

FREEBIE–Properties of Light Vocabulary Unit

Physical Science Vocabulary From The Pensive Sloth

Plus, from NOW until January 4th, 2015.  my science vocabulary units are on sale for only a dollar!

Physical Science     Earth Science     Life Science

Jumpstart January Next Stop Blog Hop and Giveaway

Next stop…Misty Miller of Little Room Under the Stairs!When you make it through the whole hop, you will land at The Lesson Deli page where you can enter to win a $50 Target gift card!  Best of luck and happy new year!

Teach Math With Me: Personal Financial Literacy and Taxes

School starts in about a month.  Resistance is futile!  I have a terrible time saying goodbye to napping and reading by the pool, but I always look forward to the start of the year.  Shopping for school supplies and meeting your kiddos at back to school night–Love it!  It is just around the corner…and so are those new personal financial literacy standards.  Now, if you are like me, the first thing that came to mind is, “How will I fit THAT in?”  Followed by, “And will that be on the STAAR test?”  One of the new standards has 5th graders defining 4 kinds of taxes (income, payroll, sales, and property) and that sounds like a great way to integrate some social studies!  So, here are a few ideas and a freebie!

5th Grade Personal Financial Literacy from The Pensive Sloth--social studies, math, and reading

Anchor chart to help students learn what the Constitution says about taxes in the US and about 4 kinds of taxes (income, payroll, sales, property).  This addresses the NEW math TEKS 5.10A for personal financial literacy…and a little bit of social studies!

5th Grade Personal Financial Literacy from The Pensive Sloth--social studies, math, and reading

Math/Literacy/Social Studies station where students sort scenarios based on the tax being described–includes 16 scenarios to be sorted into 4 tax categories.

5th Grade Personal Financial Literacy from The Pensive Sloth--social studies, math, and reading

Vocabulary snip-it with terms for teaching personal financial literacy

5th Grade Personal Financial Literacy from The Pensive Sloth reading, math, social studies

Let your students be accountants and do taxes for two fictional characters based on their financial profiles! See below for a link to this page.

 

Enjoy those last few weeks of summer!  Oh, and here’s a link to the free “Be an Accountant” activity!

–The Pensive Sloth

***Activities in this post can be found in my TPT store.***

Use MUSIC to Teach Your 5th Graders About the Bill of Rights

I love teaching social studies, especially American history.  I think it is important that children learn about America’s past and what makes this such an exceptional country!  And learning history should be FUN!  Around the middle of the year we begin studying the Constitution and US government.  My kiddos usually get a pretty good grasp on the 3 branches, but the Bill of Rights can be a challenge to teach.  Here’s some fun resources for making the Bill of Rights come alive for your students.

  • The Bill of Your Rights Rap on YouTube–A quick, summarized version of the first 10 amendments set to a catchy tune.

  • Bill of Rights Word Wall/Anchor Chart–I often make what I call focused word walls.  I’ve never been able to get the alphabetical ones to work for me, plus with teaching all subjects I run out of room quickly.  When I make word walls for science and social studies they are topic specific, so as we learned about the Bill of Rights we added our own definitions to the chart.
Our Bill of Rights word wall/anchor chart.  Very helpful to understand the language of the Bill of Rights.

Our Bill of Rights word wall/anchor chart. Very helpful to understand the language of the Bill of Rights.

  • “We Shall Be Free” Song by Garth Brooks–I love Garth Brooks and there are a few of his songs that I use in history class.  One of my favorites is “We Shall Be Free.”  I usually use this as an integrated LA/SS lesson where students make connections between a printed copy of the actual Bill of Rights and the lyrics of the song.  We listen to the song a few times and then kiddos work in small groups to make text to text connections to specific amendments.  You can find the lyrics HERE and a printable copy of the Bill of Rights HERE.
Visit the iTunes to download a copy of "We Shall Be Free" and use it to help teach your students about the Bill of Rights.

Visit the iTunes store to download the song “We Shall Be Free” and use it to help teach your students about the Bill of Rights. Or, just look through your old CD collection like I did!

  • Bill of Rights For Kids Mini-Unit–Here’s a mini-unit I put together to help teach the Bill of Rights in kid-friendly language.  It stars James Madison and includes guided notes and a test!
You can find this resource, The Bill of Rights for Kids, in my TPT store.

You can find this resource, The Bill of Rights for Kids, in my TPT store.

Thanks for stopping by!

–The Pensive Sloth