Picture it: you’re deep in the middle of teaching a lesson, and BAM, you wish you had a word wall (or vocab chart) with some of the buzzwords you would like your students to use during the discussion.
We have ALL been there, and truthfully some of the best discussions, papers, notes, etc., have some truly meaningful vocabulary attached.
Side note: I was having a discussion with my daughter while working on a science project, and this is how this post came to be. Instead of using real terms, she just kept using generic words, and I wasn’t making a meaningful connection. I then wondered, have I ever left my students feeling this way … or them leaving peers feeling the same?
TALK SCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM
This is why having VISIBLE vocabulary is so important. How you choose to display it is important, too. For example, having students just “record” terms isn’t enough. They need to be able to see it quickly, as well as engage with the vocabulary during discussions or activities. See a list of ways we “talk” science in our classroom:
- We practice repeating important terms during the lesson when discussing a specific topic. Especially the frequently used terms that pop up across lesson after lesson.
- We engage in vocabulary activities. Whether it is a doodling activity, like the one pictured above, or a visualize it activity. These activities help students retain the information they discuss, yet also allow their creative side to release happiness, furthering engagement.
- Displaying vocabulary and referring to it repeatedly. This may be one of the best ways to be prepared and organized before students arrive. I love to print vocabulary cards ahead of time and display them in a chart, like this one I found on Amazon. I have had it hanging in my classroom for years and rotate cards in and out when needed. I can pick cards up and walk them around the classroom, take them out, pass them around, etc.
- Anchor charts work too! We create KLEW charts in Science, and they work wonders. Not only do students record in their notebooks, but I also have a large copy hanging in the classroom from lesson to lesson. I also leave the charts hanging around the room during units. I never want students to forget the connections they have made.
So, in the end, SHOW the words and REMIND your students daily. Don’t be scared to have a meaningful AND vocabulary-rich discussion with your students. You will be surprised by how the conversation will turn … but by surprised, I mean P-R-O-U-D!!
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