doing vocab with novels...help!

Discussion in 'High School' started by EngTeacher15, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    Jul 29, 2007

    I teach 9th and 12th grade English and I definitely want to pull out unfamiliar words in the novels, but I'm having trouble deciding how to cover the words. Should I give them the words with definitions prior to starting the book? Should I include the words in the study guide for each chapter?

    What do you do with vocab? What works/doesn't work?

    Help! Any ideas will be appreciated!
     
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  3. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2007

    I teach 9th grade English, and I usually give them 2-3 chapters worth of vocabulary at a time. We usually work on a couple chapters at a time, so to simply give vocab. for one chapter wouldn't make sense for us. I usually aim for 12-15 words, depending if the are CP or General. Anymore than this is overwhelming for my students, and they won't bother learning any of them.

    If you have any ideas, i would love to hear them! I am always open to trying new methods!
     
  4. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    Jul 30, 2007

    Do you give them the definitions or do you have them look up the words? Do you do activities with the words? Do you test them?

    Others, please contribute your vocab strategies! Thanks!
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 30, 2007

    I have found that giving them a long list of words to define is really useless. They may cram and "learn" the words for a quiz, but they certainly don't internalize them.

    Instead, I give them a "dictionary" of words used in the novel that they can reference as they are reading, but I really only have them focus on LEARNING about 5 or 10 words (depending on the level of the class and the time I have). With those 5 or so words, we make vocabulary maps, verbal visual cards, study the etymology, etc. It's a slow process, but they seem to actually retain the words more.
     
  6. Tspecial

    Tspecial New Member

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    Jul 30, 2007

    During my student teaching I found a list (in an online lesson) of vocab from the novel, and it had sentences in it (but some of them I made up on my own to make them relevant). I had a list of about 12-13 words, and I wrote them on the board and had them number their papers. They were to write the word, and as I read each sentence they were to write down what they thought the definition was. After we went through this exercise I defined all of the words or gave examples, and they were to add them or indicate that their assumption was correct. It was both diagnostic and allowed them to use contextual clues. What was great was that the ones who objected the most (mainly because it was new) were the ones who got most or all of them right, so it was also somewhat of a confidence booster.

    One thing, it might take more time--we did this when 11th grade was taking the HS grad test and we were with the same classes for 3 hours...
     
  7. Jenni

    Jenni Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2007

    What about having students pick out words that were new to them? Like requiring them to copy down words that they found challenging or didn't understand. This was a suggested strategy we discussed in one of my reading courses in college. If you required they copy down a certain amount they'd have to be more keyed in on vocabulary as they read. Even just one a chapter would work. Then you could have a board for students to post the words they found. Just an off hand idea.
     
  8. Tspecial

    Tspecial New Member

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    Jul 31, 2007

    Another good idea--I would suggest them keeping a vocab journal in this case, and placing more structure around it for both you and them and another assignment after the word post (I envision them loosing "that sheet with the words on it" or not doing anything with the words they write down. This is a great idea, just should have a couple of extra tasks to optimize its effectiveness.
     

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