Having students learn subject-specific vocabulary or terms is very important when it comes to anything from conceptual understanding in core subjects to standardized testing. As a classroom teacher however, I often had difficulty making this meaningful or interesting and succombed to the dreaded, “Copy down these definitions off the board” strategy.
Finding ways to make the learning of new vocabulary, terms, or ideas meaningful and engaging is critical, and a class SMART Board with Notebook software can help. In this Notebook template, several different class activities are presented to have students learn new terms or ideas. The SMART Notebook file serves as both an instruction scaffold on how to do the activity, as well as a ‘stage’ at the front of the class serving multimedia to augment a ‘presentation’ component by individuals or groups of students.
Activity choices include:
- Act it Out – Act out a short scene where the term or idea is used correctly in context to prove you understand its meaning (includes sound effects and a visual countdown)
- Guess From the Clues – Generate up to 5 clues which describe your term or idea, share your clues aloud at the front of the class (from hardest to easiest) allowing classmates to jot down or make predictions (includes sound effects)
- Create a Rap or Poem – Create a short 20-40 second rap or poem to recite to the class which, through its delivery, clearly defines and describes the term or idea (includes background sound loops)
- The Interview – Partners prepare and deliver a mock interview which describes the term or idea. The term or idea can ‘come up’ in the interview conversation, or the interviewee can act as the term or idea itself who is interviewed (includes sound effects)
- Pantomime – Choose a term or idea and create a short drama which uses the term or idea in action. The drama must not involve any sound or actual props – body actions only (sound effects included)
- Create a Commercial – Create a mock TV commercial which, through the commercial, defines and demonstrates the term or idea (commercial sound loop included)
What other types of active response choices can you think of that would help students understand important vocabulary or terms in a meaningful, efficient, and engaging way?