Walking the Walk: Teaching Math Vocabulary

I speak math is my blog title.  I feel I am a translator of math into english.  However, what I would really love is for my students to speak math as well.  When I started this summer, all I has was, “One vocab page for each chapter”.  However, thanks to Twitter and the wonderful world of the internet, I have come up with a few more strategies.  I have dismissed the “one vocab page for each chapter” for now because of the Index Card Flip Chart that we are making in class.  What I am currently doing is called, “Vocabulary Illustration”.  I did not come up with this fabulous idea, I got it from Bill’s blog here and then tweaked it a bit.  I assigned the project to my 7th grade class and got some really neat illustrations!  However, they weren’t as “fine tuned” as I would have liked so I created a rubric to guide them on their illustrations.  Vocabulary Illustration Rubric.

Now, I randomly assigned each student a word from each chapter before we start that chapter and hand out the rubric.  On the day they are due, each person presents their illustration to the class.  I grade their illustration while they are presenting so they get immediate feedback.

After they turn them in, I have the other classes vote on them (names omitted).  The next day, I award the winning illustrations with a prize from the prize pail.  I also hang up all of their illustrations in the room.

I believe that I may go one more step this chapter.  After hanging the illustrations up, I am going to give each student a blank sheet of white copy paper and have them copy their favorite illustration for each vocabulary word to keep in their folder.  I am hoping that the visual vocabulary will reinforce their understanding (and recall) of the words.  When they are studying for the test, they can study their index cards and their vocabulary sheets.  I will post a picture of one after we make the sheet.

The Math Wiki is full of more vocabulary ideas that I have yet to try!  And I am always looking for great ideas to help students attain a working math vocabulary!  So, if you have them, please let me know.  : )

6 thoughts on “Walking the Walk: Teaching Math Vocabulary

  1. Wonderful stuff here! I teach math majors as well as students who, well, are at the other end of the specturm; I can’t think of any course where this wouldn’t be beneficial. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: 2010 in Review – Half Way Through My “First Year” « I Speak Math

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