Sunday, November 12, 2017

Content Vocabulary Talks

Whew... the first nine weeks is over, 27 parent conferences have been had and report cards are finished! This was by far the most overwhelming busiest first quarter of school I've ever experienced! If this is any indication of the rest of the school year, my goal is to squeeze out a blog post monthly because who know's if I'll have time to do more than that!

I wanted to share an idea I've been doing with my third graders in math. I saw the idea while in a teammate's room. She had a Science Anchor with (animal) vocabulary words on it. At the top of the chart it said "If the answer is _____, what is the question?" So if the answer is "instinct," what is the question? Students had brainstormed possible questions and she had listed the final question next to the vocabulary word on the chart. 

I immediately thought about the math vocabulary bulletin board in my classroom. I had been wanting to do something with the words after I remove them. I've decided to only keep them up for the quarter and then take them down for the next quarter's words. So, everyday I've chosen a "review" word from last quarter and posed this question...
  • The answer is angle, what is the question?
  • The answer is difference, what is the question?
I then give them a couple minutes to talk with their face partner or shoulder partner about possible questions. Then students share out their questions and I record them on the chart paper. I reread all the questions and students again talk with their face or shoulder partner about what they feel the "best" question is for the vocabulary word. We then decide the best one and I put a bubble around it. 
 This is a strategy that can be used in any subject. It really taps into the higher level thinking as they can't use the answer in their question. Some questions are more on the mark than others but with discussion those students are realizing how their thinking may have been too specific or not specific enough.

Can you see yourself using this strategy in your classroom?

The Math Vocabulary Cards were purchased from Amy Lemons and created any word cards that she didn't have that I needed. 

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