Word Study in an Upper Elementary STEM Class {w/ iTeachSTEM}

What does word study look like in an upper elementary science classroom? Content vocabulary and root words. Breaking down words and making connections through visuals and common experiences enables students to better understand the meaning of complex science words.
What does word study look like in an upper elementary science classroom? Content vocabulary and root words. Breaking down words and making connections through visuals and common experiences enables students to better understand the meaning of complex science words.

VISUAL VOCABULARY CARDS:
At the beginning of each unit, I hang a set of related "visual vocabulary cards" on my cabinets. This gives students a reference for the most important terms to be used in the upcoming weeks. What I love about these cards is that each one has a picture to help students make a connection. (This is especially helpful for my SPED and ELL students.)
What does word study look like in an upper elementary science classroom? Content vocabulary and root words. Breaking down words and making connections through visuals and common experiences enables students to better understand the meaning of complex science words.
I recently started hanging them on the cabinet doors because it's super easy to hide them in the case of a pop quiz or test. Just open the cabinets!
What does word study look like in an upper elementary science classroom? Content vocabulary and root words. Breaking down words and making connections through visuals and common experiences enables students to better understand the meaning of complex science words.

FOCUSED HIGHLIGHTING:
Another strategy I use when teaching vocabulary is to have students highlight parts of the word and/or definition as they are recording it in their journals. I find that looking at each word and the meaning of its root helps students to better remember the meaning. For example, students struggle to understand what "binomial nomenclature" means, so I have them highlight and note the meaning of each part of the terms. I sometimes have to tweak the meaning to fit better in what we are learning without adding more confusion.
What does word study look like in an upper elementary science classroom? Content vocabulary and root words. Breaking down words and making connections through visuals and common experiences enables students to better understand the meaning of complex science words.
Another unit where I do a lot of highlighting during vocabulary instruction is when teaching students about the types of symbiotic relationships in an ecosystem. For each term, we highlighted a part of the word and then the portion of the definition that showed the meaning of the root or prefix. We also drew silly faces (#emojisareawholelanguagenow) to help students remember the subtle differences in each type of relationship.
What does word study look like in an upper elementary science classroom? Content vocabulary and root words. Breaking down words and making connections through visuals and common experiences enables students to better understand the meaning of complex science words.
Because these terms cause so much confusion for my students each year, I also have them come up with their own "mini-poster" to illustrate the meaning of each word. I love how this student included such well-mannered organisms in his examples. Not only does drawing pictures help students learn and remember the meanings, but they ENJOY it too!
What does word study look like in an upper elementary science classroom? Content vocabulary and root words. Breaking down words and making connections through visuals and common experiences enables students to better understand the meaning of complex science words.

SONGS AND VIDEOS:
Another way I try to help my students when studying new vocabulary terms is through music.
We actually just listened to this song about heat transfer today. My hubby stopped by to bring me lunch and commented that my classroom was "killing music" one cheesy rap song at a time. Hey - the kids loved it and I figure whatever works is worth it!

Now, to be fair, I CANNOT sing well. And my rapping leaves something to be desired. But, YouTube has some really great channels with so many fun songs to help students learn science concepts. I've got a bunch of them saved to this board on Pinterest.

SYMBOLS AND DIAGRAMS:
Sometimes during notetaking I realize that students would benefit from some "silliness" that actually helps them along the way. Last week I was trying to define "heat conductor" in a way that would stick with them. It's so close to the holidays so I started talking about how I love watching the movie The Polar Express. In it there is a train conductor whose job is to get the children from their homes to the North Pole to see Santa as quickly as possible.
What does word study look like in an upper elementary science classroom? Content vocabulary and root words. Breaking down words and making connections through visuals and common experiences enables students to better understand the meaning of complex science words.
I connected this to heat conductors whose job is to move heat more quickly from one object or location to another. After trying to make the connection I started doodling in my journal and drew a train. My students started giggling and whispering "Are we supposed to be drawing that too?" So I wrote the letters H-E-A-T in the train cars to represent heat being transferred quickly from one place to another by a conductor. They laughed and a few of them have even referred to that drawing in later discussions.


No comments:

Post a Comment