Monday, February 18, 2013

Teaching Strategy (and FREEBIE) Focus: Vocabulary

Today, I want to share a couple of strategies (and a FREEBIE!) for teaching vocabulary in the classroom. Since my first or second year teaching, I've used (with success) the same vocabulary strategies to introduce key terms at the start of a topic, and to review them later. Details below (with images).

In addition, click here to download the FREE resources described below.

Vocabulary Introduction: 
When introducing new and key terms, this strategy has proved successful for my students, as it provides them not only a list of defined terms, but requires them to analyze definitions as they write them.
Given a vocabulary worksheet, definition list, and textbook, students must choose and record the correct definition from the definition list and record it on the vocabulary worksheet. To help them select the correct definitions, a textbook is also provided. By asking students to choose a definition similar in meaning to that in their text (rather than simply copy a definition from the text), students are required to analyze and compare definitions, improving the probability of learning.
While students still require practice and regular use of terms to solidify learning, this slight change in the process of defining key terms makes a world of difference. 

Vocabulary Review:

This is one of the best vocabulary review games I've used:
     1. The focus of the game is student to student discourse.
     2. It's transferable - It can be used for any topic with any vocabulary words.
     3. Kids LOVE it.

Student groups of four (two students per team - a reader and a guesser) are given a timer and a set of index cards with one key term on each card. For a 60 or 90 second round (student choice), the reader begins by describing the term on the first card while the guesser attempts to say guess it. If the guesser successfully guesses the term, a point is scored, and the reader moves to the next card. If the reader decides to skip/pass on a card, the point goes to the other team.
While this is going on, the other team is looking over the reader's shoulder, making sure that he/she doesn't say the word on the card. If the reader does, the point belongs to the other team, and the reader moves to the next card.

At the end of the round, ALL cards get reshuffled and handed to the other teams, and roles reverse.
At best, students are discussing with each other the key terms and what they mean. At worst, students are listening to others describe words. Either way, it's a big time learning opportunity.

How do you teach vocabulary in the classroom? I'd love to hear any tips/strategies in the comments below!


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Calvin's Dad Explains!

If you're looking for the Remember Middle School? blog, you've found it! (Although you've probably noticed the new blog name and look)! After some thinking, I've decided to change the name of the blog to align with the  
STR store, Facebook, and Pinterest pages. The content will be the same - science, students, and education.

I'm glad you're here - now, onto Calvin's dad explaining science! 

Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite science lessons, as taught by Calvin's (of Calvin and Hobbes) dad. Funny enough, these were always some of my father's favorites, and I love them even more as an adult than I did as a kid.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Science FREEBIES - Round 3!

Please enjoy the freebies featured below, both from the Science Teacher Resources store, and donated from some generous TeachersPayTeachers sellers! Visit their stores, download some FREE resources, and show them some support!

Didn't see our prior freebie posts? View them here!


And now, onto the FREEBIES!

From the STR store:

FREE Science Discourse Writing Prompts Mini-Pack!
Engage your students in meaningful discourse with this free subset of the full Science Discourse Writing Prompts Pack resource. The Science Discourse Writing Prompts Mini-Pack engages students in thinking, discussing, and analyzing/synthesizing different ideas about science process, physical science, life science, and earth science content.

FREE Stomach Model Digestion Lab!
Let students explore the stomach - by creating stomach and using it to digest actual food!
FREE Rock Cycle Simulation Lab!
Make the rock cycle fun! This lab walks students through modeling rock cycle processes, and asks them to make analogies between the activity and the rock cycle.
FREE Heat MiniQuiz
Teaching about heat, heat transfer, conduction, convection, or radiation? This short quiz is designed to assess student understanding of heat transfer and knowledge of heat transfer methods.
FREE Identifying Variable Practice!
This printable, reproducible worksheet (answer key included) can help with independent, dependent, and control variables!

From other generous TpT sellers:

FREE! Christmas Sound Bingo from Oddball Science
Topic:  Animals Sounds and Math

FREE! Magnet Experiment on Attraction from Tab Purvis
Topic: Magnetism

FREE! Making Ginger Ale: Yeast Fermentation Lab from Cooking With Science
Topic(s): Cell Respiration, Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Respiration

FREE! The Scientific Method Presentation from Biology Roots
Topic: Scientific Method

FREE! Astronomy Terms Domino Puzzle from Mrs. Brosseau's Binder
Topic: Space Exploration Vocabulary
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