Monday, March 31, 2014

In the Art Room: Teaching Vocabulary Part 3

Kids what you see here is my last installment about attempting to teach vocabulary. From writing my first and second post about teaching all things wordy, I've come to a coupla conclusions:

* Repetition is key. Say it, sing it, sneeze it, speak it in a Santa voice, it doesn't matter just repeat the daylights outta that word with the children. And maybe a couple of them will retain it. On the first day. So do it all over again every other day of the year. And maybe a couple more will have it by the end.

* Make learning unusual. Everybody remembers their first ride a bike (what did you think I meant?!). So if you offer the children a unique experience when learning something for the first time, that fun memory will be embedded in their brain along with the word.

*Words, words everywhere! I need to improve upon this. Kids love to read and they want to learn. So why not get those words on every stinkin' surface?! Give the little people what they want!

*Use those words. If we don't use them in some sort of context then they just remain words floating in outer space to the kids. Teach 'em and use 'em. That's what I'm trying to do anyway.

When introducing new words for a new unit of art study, I have them written out and in my red chart (see above with grade levels indicated at the top). Then I play these coupla of games. I'm hoping these clips make some sense of my madness.
Or not.
Em, our friend across the pond, says, "I'm a classroom teacher in the UK. I have a word wall and I add to it as the children suggest words in shared writing or we find words in shared texts and we refer to it often but it takes tome for them to learn to do this independently. It's literacy based but I also use vocabulary cards in maths a lot as this is an area which has a lot of vocab. I hold up the cards as I talk and display them on the whiteboard and they often have pictures and symbols with them to help with meaning. The children have learnt to question me whenever an unfamiliar word is used which helps them learn the meanings. You could play quick games like give half the children a word and the other half the definition either as a sentence or picture and they have a minute to find their partner. Or hide words around the room and ask them to find the word that means... I print out words in tiny writing and give the children magnifying glasses to read them, making them feel like word detectives. You could have 'word of the day' displayed and reward those who use it correctly."

Kids playing Clap-Clap, Snap-Snap and wondering why I'm taking their picture. 
Cathy who blogs at Splats, Scraps and Glue Blobs says, "Last year I was trying to think of everything possible to help kids remember art vocabulary words. There is a restroom across the hall from my art room and most of the classes use these RR's before coming into my class. So I made vocabulary word posters with pictures and hung them on the backs of the doors. Kids didn't even realize they were learning."
Now just talking, clapping and snapping words is one thing...but without putting them in some sort of context, it's kinda pointless, don't you think? I got this idea for putting a different spin on my "I Can" statements from Don over at Shine Brite Zamorano. This is new for me...and I'm trying to add reading this to my teaching routine. My normal routine is simply have the children repeat all of the direction they are to follow during the course of the class. However, add this will add more context to those words. If you've not been by this blog, it's a must, ya'll!

And there you have it! I'm still working on my vocab teaching methods so any clever tricks in the comments are much appreciated. Thanks for dropping by you guys!


  1. Anonymous4/03/2014

    Love the word chart! I may... nah, I WILL, implement that to my room. I have the perfect spot!

  2. Anonymous4/03/2014

    Ooh, and Ooh!!! I wasn't able to watch the 2 videos at first, but after my last comment posted, all of a sudden one was playing (huh?)... soooo, I'm totally going to do the clap-snap game! In fact, I may try it with my next class... 1st grade, doing Wayne Thiebaud, and we talk about SO many vocab words in our intro to him: line, shape, form, repetition, unity, and symmetry! This will be FUN! Thanks!

  3. Expressing emotions and feelings would be extremely easy when you are connected with .When you have words one never fails to express whether its food, emotions or a scene. Expressing beautifully is all you need.
    Try it..!!

  4. Sorry, I'm missing something. What do the numbers on the top image mean? Are they units, lessons, or what? Thanks for the tips....been reading, and you're right. Repetition is definitely key. Thank you.

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