9/19/2016 3 Comments
So many times, when I introduce a content-specific vocabulary term, I find myself teaching a root word or etymology to show the students connections between words. This helps them remember the meanings of the terms more easily.
I find that going beyond just the term and its definition helps increase retention, so I have dumped the basic index cards as vocabulary flashcards.
Instead, students can create a folding card that helps them to practice and review the meaning behind the word through memory triggers - root words, images, and explanations in their own words.
Often, once students hear a root word, there is a huge "AHA" moment. I like to compare the commutative property to commuting (moving back and forth).
I ask students to give me as many words as they can that begin with "poly" when I teach polygons, polyhedra, or polynomials. Then we talk about how "polytheism" is about many gods, "polygamy" is many wives, and "polychromatic" means many colors.
These discussions and comparisons help the kids make connections that will lead them into a definition that they understand and remember.
Creating the Cards:
Tips for Students:
Some Sample Roots & Etymologies:
This strategy works in any subject area, but I have collected some math-specific terms here for you to share some root words.
Study Skills Beyond Vocabulary Terms
For middle school students (and even some high school students), explicitly learning study skills and strategies can be really important.
If you want to go beyond vocabulary, check out this study skills pack for math class that guides students through study strategies like mind maps, these vocabulary folding cards, and tricks for memorizing formulas.
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