School’s out for summer! I haven’t blogged in far too long. Naturally then, it’s time to share a cool idea I spotted at school. Posters like this graced the wall outside a chemistry class at Clarkston High:

Chemistry vocabulary sorted by students.

My colleague, the ever-clever Ms. Marshall*, came up with this great vocabulary sorting activity.  (By way of background, her chemistry classes include approximately 50% English Learners. Academic vocabulary building is part of the way we teach English Learners.) If you’re in the same boat of needing to explicitly teach vocabulary, this is a great culminating activity.

Give the kids all the vocabulary from the course and tell them to sort the words in a way that makes sense to them. The best posters grouped words by commonalities like “phases of matter” instead of “Chapter 1”. Brilliant: getting the kids to figure out how the words link together.

Vocabulary, sorted and categorized.

Oh, and to make things easier, Ms. Marshall has been using the vocabulary tools from Quizlet, so she only needed to print out each unit.


*Ms. Marshall also taught me about Interactive Notebooks. How can this be only her 3rd year teaching?