If your students are anything like mine are, you understand the hassle and frustration of learning vocabulary. They absolutely hate copying vocabulary words and definitions. I absolutely hate hearing their complaints about it too. What exactly does just copying terms and definitions on a piece of paper really accomplish, anyway? I believe all that does is make our students master-memorizers. But is that really helping them? Are they really getting anything out of that, aside from boredom? No.
That's why today's blog post will showcase how to build vocabulary lessons using digital interactive notebooks and Google Apps.
Why Vocabulary Instruction?First off, let’s discuss why we incorporate learning vocabulary into our curriculum. Well, it’s obvious. It builds our own vocabulary. We sound smarter. We sound intelligent. We sound like we actually know what we’re talking about. We study the root of the word which helps us learn other related words.
Learning vocabulary allows our brains to think at a higher level, to be able to read more challenging text, and to understand the text more easily. Learning to build our vocabulary is essential for any mental growth, especially at the middle and high school level.
So, if my students hate copying terms and definitions, just to memorize them and forget their meaning after I test them on it, what else can I do? How can I be more efficient and effective at this?
I have found that you can build vocabulary lessons using digital interactive notebooks and Google Apps. This is a fun and engaging way to get your students to actually LEARN definitions, not just memorize and forget them.
This website is awesome for learning vocabulary. When your students go to the website, it instructs you to type in all of your vocabulary words. Once completed, they click on GENERATE. This will provide a running list of all the words they have provided and a lengthy definition of each as well. On this tab, it gives you the option to download the definition list as a Microsoft Word document, if you wanted to keep it on a computer.
But what makes this website so awesome? It has EXTRAS! Who doesn’t love extras? You can get synonyms for each of the words provided, your students can quiz themselves in multiple formats, the website can generate flashcards to print for easy studying, and it also can generate worksheets for further enrichment.
That does sound great, but how can I incorporate this cool new style of learning vocabulary into my digital interactive notebook? I have created 7 different pages that can be included in your notebook that help your students stay organized and engaged while learning at the same time.
The resource is called Go Interactive Notebook Google Edition Vocabulary. Within this resource you will find 7 files that you can easily share with your students through Google Drive. You students, upon receiving the shared pages, can make a copy of the files to add to their specific digital notebook for their current unit of study.
I will break down each of the 7 pages and explain how it can be used:
- Your Words List: This file contains a basic working list of vocabulary terms and definition. The actual vocabulary word is given a specific color. The actual vocabulary word is located on the left and the definition and parts of speech are to be filled in by your students. Both sides are a textbook and is easy to complete.
- Vocabulary Organizer: This file resembles a 5x10 table. The first column is again colored and designed for imputing the working list of vocabulary words. The rest of the table, which are text boxes, are for your students to input the definition, part of speech, synonym, antonym and an image or icon representing the word.
- The Roots: This file helps students understand how vocabulary words are related to a root word. Students input the root word and definition on the truck of the tree, which is the background image of the page, and find related words, which are located on the roots of the trees.
- Need help with inputting images from the Internet? I’ll provide a tech-tip below
5. Vocabulary Map: This file looks similar to the Snapshot file but the information needed is slightly different. The vocabulary word or concept is located in the middle. In the four colored corners, students must input important characteristics, wrong characteristics, an example and a wrong example.
6. Vocabulary Detective: This file requires the use of the textbook for completion. Students input the assigned vocabulary word, and search their assigned text for which page number the words can be found. Then they must create an original sentence using that word, and add the definition.
7. Vocabulary Tree: This file is very similar to the Roots example, of showing how different words can be all traced back to a root word.