Friday, July 27, 2012

Building Academic Vocabulary in Geography

Attended the workshop by Master Teacher Alice Poh and I must say it was simple to carry out and helped my students to be more conscious of the terms used in Geography. 
When students explained from their own experiences and represented their understanding of the term with a picture or graphic representation, the effect is more powerful as they could recall the terms much easier,  especially when it is followed up by a game or quiz. 
This is based on Marzano’s Six Steps to Vocabulary Building through hands-on activities: 

1.      Provide a description, explanation or example
    • Students need some initial information
    • Get students to share what they already
    • Know or what they think they know
    • Build on what students know (prior knowledge)
2.    Ask students to restate in their own words
    • Make sure students do not copy what you said
    • They need to construct their own descriptions, explanations and examples
    • Make students record in their vocab book
    • Students can discuss with a partner
3.     As students to construct a picture, symbol or graphic representation
    • Students are forced to think of the term in a different way
    • They need to process the information in a non-linguistic way
4.      Engage students in activities to help them add to their knowledge

5.      Ask students to discuss terms with one another

6.       Involve students in games that allow them to play with terms 

I tried this activity with the students and the following are some examples which they came up with. Personally I felt that the activity was engaging as they did peer evaluation and take greater responsibility in their learning as they relate the terms to their own experience.

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