As I have talked about previously in my blog, my school has many students who are English Language Learners (ELL), and in a variety of languages. Being able to use and understand subject specific vocabulary is one of the Benchmarks for English Language Learning (Alberta Government, 2011) used in my area. Even that aside, those students whose math vocabulary is larger do better on word problems and on problem based learning. They are better able, in my opinion, to process what a question is asking them to do because they understand not only what the word say but what math concepts they relate to. To make my school even more complex, there are many other factors that affect students’ previous math vocabulary knowledge. I have created a visual to help with the complexity of learning math vocabulary at my school.
As you can see when planning for how to introduce vocabulary into my classroom, I can take nothing as shared (Cobb, 1990). The vocabulary exercises I have used in the past have been just a worksheet using dictionary and glossary as resources. I have decided to target this activity because not only is this difficult for my ELLs but does not allow for the students who arrive at various times throughout the year, and there are many, to have access to the taken as shared knowledge of the class. I need the learning in my classroom to reflect the diversity and be centered on the learners and the learners in a purposeful way (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000).
Now I am designing my ideal lesson, as I have not looked into all the Freedom Of Information and Privacy (FOIP) (Alberta Queen’s Printer, 2012) issues nor my school board policy of hosting student work offsite. I also have not looked at the price to have these digital tools in my classroom nor if my school budget would allow for it or my own pocketbook for that matter. However, putting all that aside I do not think it hurts to dream a little.
This lesson will require some front-loading of the digital technology before it can be fully implemented. Some of my students have never laid hands on a computer so sometimes my front-loading starts with using a mouse, logging in, and navigating a website. I can honestly say my job is never boring or the same two days in a row. I am going to assume the front loading of the digital tools and pretend this is a lesson plan for further in the year, as vocabulary will be a frequently occurring lesson over the school year.
Grade 7 Math Vocabulary Lesson
Math Vocabulary Lesson by Amy Tetz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Location: computer lab
Length: 2 classes
Objective: By the end of the activity students will:
- Create an animation to illustrate the meaning of a vocabulary word using Toontastic
- Share their illustrated meaning with fellow classmates
- Record their knowledge about the meanings of all vocabulary words
- Find links between the words
- Accounts for
- Vocabulary words pre-print in large font on paper
- Lamination material for laminator
- Pre-load apps
- Group students into pairs, this can allow for scaffolding (Vygotsky, 1978)or provide enough support to enable success for students that either struggle with reading in English or computer use.
- Give out a Vocabulary word [pre-select words for 1) students who struggle to help ensure they can find and understand information about the word 2) challenge students with more difficult concepts to explain]
1. Find enough information about the word so that you feel confident you understand it. Find information using Google, your textbook, a dictionary, or an online math dictionary)
2. Create a story to illustrate the meaning of the word or the properties of the word.
3. Have your teacher assess to see if you have accurately illustrated the meaning of the word before proceeding. This will become the overlay in Aurasma.
4. Decorate the pre-printed word sheet to briefly describe your word using brightly coloured images only
5. Choose the video as your overlay in Aurasma
6. Use Aurasma to take a target picture of your decorated pre-printed word. This becomes the trigger for your video
7. Submit your decorated pre-printed word for lamination
Part 2- Sharing
After all students have finished their word each pair will be equipped with an IPads and a vocabulary sheet. Students will open Aurasma on their IPads. They will then hold the Ipad to target the decorated printed word sheet. This will link it to the poster or animation that the students created. Using this information, students will then record their definition for the word using both words and pictures. At the end of the class, a debrief session will be held to allow students to ask questions about any words they are still having issues with. Then all the vocabulary word posters will be put up on the walls. I want the posters laminated an on the wall as then the learning is archived for any new student to the class. If they do not know the word they can use an Ipad with Aurasma to see the definition of the word. This allows students to become a collective of learners each supporting the learning of others (Bransford et. all, 2000; Davis, Sumara, & Luce-Kapler, 2008).
If you load the free app from Aurasma on your phone or Ipad you can view an example of this activity below. The quality of the video is poor since I do not have an educator account so I could not just link to the video. I had to record it on my Iphone and then compress the file so that you could see what I mean. Here are the steps: 1) Load up Aurasma 2) click the link here and search for Tetz’s and subscribe to my channel and 3) use the camera to target the image below.
There are three opportunities to assess math vocabulary during this activity. The first opportunity is when students show you their video before posting it. I will be looking for an accurate definition and use of math vocabulary in the cartoon. The second opportunity comes when looking at their trigger picture which triggers the video clip on Aurasma. The question I will be asking myself is “do the pictures on the trigger image relate to the vocabulary word?” The last opportunity to assess vocabulary is when I look at their definitions for the math terms done by all students.
Comparing my lesson to the communication competencies that Renee Hobbs outlines in her book Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom (2011); I see my lesson focusing mainly on the competencies of Create and Act. I believe my lesson meet the criteria of creating because the students are creating the vocabulary for the other students. They then get to share their learning with the other students for whom the vocabulary was created. I believe my lesson meets the criteria for acting because by archiving the learning it allows all new members of the class to actively participate in the class. Students are sharing their knowledge with others to enrich the learning of all.
Now that the lesson is finished I now need to work on the logistics of is this possible with the contraints placed on me by the system I work in to actually bring this lesson to see the light of day…here’s hoping as I think this way of doing vocabulary will benefits my students more than my present activity.
Alberta Government. (2011, November). Alberta K–12 ESL Proficiency Benchmarks with examples. Retrieved from Learn Alberta: http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/eslapb/documents/ESL%20Benchmarks%20Grades%207-9.pdf
Alberta Queen’s Printer. (2012, July 1). Freedom of Information and Privacy Act. Retrieved from Government of Alberta: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/1266.cfm?page=F25.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779762071
Aurasma. (2013). Auras. Retrieved from Aurasma: http://www.aurasma.com/aura/
Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.). (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. Washington D.C.: NAtional Adademy Press. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368
Cobb, P. (1990). Multiple perspectives. In L. P. Steffe, & T. Wood (Eds.), Transforming children’s mathematics education : International perspectives (pp. 200-215). Barcombe, U.K.: Falmer Press.
Davis, B., Sumara, D., & Luce-Kapler, R. (2008). Engaging Mind Changing Teaching in Complex Times second edition. New York: Routledge.
Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.
Launchpad Toys. (n.d.). Toontastic. Retrieved from Launchpad Toys: http://launchpadtoys.com/toontastic/#in-action
Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interactions between Learning and Development. In Mind In Society (M. Cole, Trans., pp. 79-91). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.