Marzano's 6 Steps to Vocabulary Instruction #4: Extend and Refine Your Students' uNDERSTANDING of the TERMS
By now your students have been introduced to new terms and they have been provided with definitions or examples. They have had opportunities to re-state these definitions in their own words both individually and in groups or pairs and have found ways to represent the words symbolically either through pictures or by acting them out.
Great! But now what?
Now, Dr. Marzano says to have students engage in activities to refine and add to their understanding of the terms. Don't worry, this is easier than it sounds and doesn't have to be very elaborate or take up that much class time. I do a variety of activities to deepen my students' understanding of our current unit's vocabulary that are fast, easy, take very little prep (yea!) and keep students excited about learning vocabulary!
1. Vocabulary Sentence - I challenge my students to compose a grammatically correct sentence that makes sense using as many of our unit's 14 or so vocabulary terms as possible. Students who think they have created a good one are encouraged to share it out and high scores (most words used) are recorded throughout the day on my big whiteboard.
2. Vocabulary Connections - I project all our vocabulary terms and either as a whole class or with a partner ask for students to explain how two of them are connected. For instance, a student might volunteer and say, "Ziggurats and pyramids are connected because they are both buildings." I would then ask if anyone disagrees or has a different connection. This might get another student to say something like, "I think Ziggurats should go more with mudbrick because that's what ziggurats were made of, and pyramids are stone." The more often you do this activity, the better your students will get at making connections and some will start saying things like, "Ooh! I can connect three!" or "Can I try to connect five?" or, even better, "That word is like _______ from last unit."
3. Fill in the Blanks - I will compose a paragraph using as many of the unit's terms as possible, then I replace the content vocabulary with blanks. My students are then challenged to correctly fill in the blanks.
Each of these activities work great as either warm up or filler activities and are certain to result in higher scores on vocabulary quizzes and improved vocabulary retention. If you are interested in other vocabulary resources, be sure to check out the link below, and take a look at the rest of my store for other great Social Studies activities that will get your students engaged in and excited about Social Studies!
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