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Teaching Vocabulary - Middle School History

Teaching social studies is often focused on new vocabulary.  Here are my ideas about how to do that.

1. Use the three D's, Define, Describe, and Draw.  I learned this from a reading teacher at the UCLA Teaching Lab in the 90"s, I believe it was Kathy Reider but am not positive,  and have been using it ever since.  Student copies definition, then writes in their own words, and finally draws a simple image of what the word is.  Classmates may help slow neighbors with the the second two d's.  We start in class and finish for homework.

2.  Use a Frayer model to teach and practice words, I call it "four corners" in my classroom.  This is a strategy based on the idea that even babies can tell what is "not" a thing... e.g. a baby tastes things they find on the floor to find out if it is food... so even a new word can fit in a category of what it isn't.  Do four things for each word, Define, List characteristics, List what it is, and finally list what it isn't.  

3.  Repetition of smaller list of words.  Instead of increasing the number of words try to limit the number.  So if you taught 20 words for a chapter, just pick the top ten and spend the extra time using the top ten in various modes, so you have more time to do both 3 D's and 4 Corner's for the words.  

4.  Save the extra word lists for the students who are feeling bored and would like to have a challenge

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