Vocabulary conundrums

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

My school has recently taken a stance on the importance of enforcing vocabulary teaching in the class. As a school we are working on this in all subjects, which is great! It is about time we start thinking about the fact that students read and write in other subjects other than English class.

As excited as I am about our endeavour, I am getting frustrated at my limited ways of teaching it. See I am a homeroom teacher and as a result teach 5 subjects, meaning I teach 5 subjects worth of vocabulary. I have drug the bottom of the barrel trying to get new and interesting ways to teach the vocabulary for all subjects. I can think of great little activities to build vocabulary retention, but I am having a hard time coming up with new things 5 times. Anyone else out there teach this much?????

Well back to the vocabulary. What is the best way to teach it? We have been using the 6 step method and are working on it everyday. Gradual exposure over time to words to gain familiarity and then to be able to give your own definition is great, but it’s not really working for my kids. They are all ELLs and read below grade level, they also seem to hate to read, or write, or anything that puts them out on an unfamiliar limb. The time allotted for most classes is rather small, but that is significantly increased with these kids. They desperately need to learn new vocabulary, but I wonder if we need to consider the fact that the best practice in general is not the best practice for our kids? I want them to learn and succeed, but at what point do you say woah! We are all on overload here and it may not work.

Question du jour: What method do you find the most effective when teaching new vocabulary?

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