Showing posts with label elementary vocabulary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elementary vocabulary. Show all posts

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!

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

In the Art Room: Teaching Vocabulary

Okay, ya'll, it's confession time: I stink at reinforcing vocabulary.

Now don't get me wrong, I teach the stuff. But getting 'em to recall the stuff, well, that's another story. For example, after teaching all about Pablo Picasso's Blue Period, the following art class will sometimes go a little sumpin like this: 

Me: So! Yesterday we chatted all about the artist Pablo...

Kids: Picasso!

Me: Right! Remember, he was the artist that was really sad so he chose to paint with a certain color to show his emotions...

Kids: {crickets}

Me: Ahem, it was blue, remember? And we added a little white and a little black to the blue to make...

Kids: {blank-faced zombie crickets}

Me:  Tints and shades! Remember, I taught you a poem, we read a book, WE PAINTED A PICTURE?! (Scratching my head and checking my schedule)...wait a minute, did you guys even have art yesterday?

Kids: {awoken zombie crickets} YEEEEESSS!

Me: (muttering) Really? Were you awake during any of it?! I SUNG A SONG FOR YOU PEOPLE!
Yeah, so. It turns out the little people need a lot of reinforcing of the vocabulary so that it sticks. Just telling them once, even with jazz hands and a musical number, won't do the trick. I've known this forever so my solution is usually just to bring up that vocabulary every time it applies to a particular lesson. The prob with that is, it's often a struggle to squeeze in all that vocab. 

But I think I might have a new idea thanks to Ron Clark's The Excellent 11. I thrifted this book recently and I've really enjoyed reading his different techniques and dreaming up ways to make them work in my art room. Now, I'm not gonna lie, reading Ron Clark's books are not easy for me because the dude is like a super hyperactive teaching genius and I often feel overwhelmed. So I thought I'd try just one technique of his for a while before attempting any others. And that was his means of introducing and teaching vocabulary.
In Ron's book, he talks about how he researched and found 1000 words he thought his students should know. That sounded like a lot of work and I'm rather lazy. I did find a great resource for art elementary vocabulary here that I loved. After adapting the list, I typed out the words, printed them and cut them down to the strips of paper here. 

Ron's idea was simple: as the children enter the room, they are to (attempt) to read the word shown to them. No need to tell them what the word means, just let them get used to sounding out the vocabulary. Once they've read the word, they may enter the room. Flip to the next word and ask the next student. 

So far my 2nd though 4th grade students have done this step with vocabulary A-B. When we return from break, I will continue to show them the same words, this time asking them for the definition. I'm very curious to see what they already know (hello, pre-test!). If they do not know the definition, I will give it to them. I am hoping that by the end of a couple art classes, they'll have a better grasp of the pronunciation and definition.
Now, this little technique has a couple flaws: 
  1. The kids won't get a chance to read each and every vocabulary word. Especially when I begin to introduce more in the next couple weeks. I've not found a solution to that. Suggestions would be great if you got 'em. Right now I'm content with simply introducing them to words we might not otherwise chat about.
  2. I never ever want to rush a child that might struggle with reading. Or processing. However, as the children enter my room, they are to stand silently while the rest of their friends trickle in.  I kinda feel weird about that as they are just standing there when they could be learning. So I've got a kinda solution to that which I'll share with you in a moment.
Because I'm World Famous for losing stuff, I keep the vocabulary in these little holders by the door. I've decided to start this technique with my kindergarten (pray for me) and 1st grade after break, hence the "Little Rockin' Artist Words." For them, I've written down names of colors, shapes and simple vocabulary
Okay, so I mentioned that I found a kinda solution for the kids waiting for their friends to finish reading vocabulary. Well, I had this fantastic idea that I'd have a powerpoint running on my television (can you believe the size of that thing?! I know I'm retro, but c'mon!) that would alternate between a famous work of art and the artists name. This way the kids would not only be gaining vocabulary skillz but masterwork recognition!

The problem? My mammoth television won't hook up to my wee lap top. This seriously saddens me. I'm hoping the tech-dude comes up with a solution (fingers are crossed) but until then, I've got a piece of artwork taped to my 'set. Classy right? I choose a student to play "What do you See? Think? Wonder?" (details here) while they wait.
After we've done the vocab bit at the door, it's then that we recite our "I Can" statements before getting down to business. Details on that here.
That thing on the right is a wrap-up game we sometimes play called The Smartest Artist. You can read more about that game here.
I'll keep you posted on how this works for me. I've got a Word Wall (well, Word Cabinets would be more accurate) that I plan to add these words to as we master them. I don't know if this is going to work or not...but it's worth a shot, right? 

How do you guys go about teaching and reinforcing vocabulary? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Also...I've got an idea. Would any of you out there be interested in starting a virtual Art Teacher Book Club?  When I was reading Ron Clark's book, I thought how fun it would be to have a group of ya'll reading this book with me. You know, to brainstorm ideas and share experiences. If you are interested, just let me know...and suggest a book! If there's enough interest and book suggestions, we can vote on our first read and get started. That sounds like a fun New Years thing to do, don't you think?

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