Teaching vocabulary can be very beneficial if you teach it the right way; that is, if you teach it in a way that is meaningful, beneficial, and important for your student’s education. I remember having to copy the definition of 10+ vocabulary words for math, science, social studies, and health every week. Honestly, I probably couldn’t tell you the meaning of the majority of vocabulary words I was forced to “copy” during my educational life. We don’t want that for our students do we? So, let’s make sure that we are only teaching vocabulary words that are meaningful for our student’s success not only school, but in their lives outside of the classroom!
When I teaching vocabulary I only have my students write the most important words that they will need to fully comprehend the lesson that I am teaching. We always use the KIMS model now when we do vocabulary. To begin, give the students the Key word. Next, I like the read a sentence or two that use the key word to see if the students can use context clues to determine the meaning of the word. After we have all agreed on a definition we write it in our own words, so that it’s easy for each individual student to understand, on the information section of our chart.
The next two parts of the KIMS, memory clue and statement, are my favorite and the student’s too! M stands for memory clue. In this part of your chart the students are able to draw a picture or memory clue that will help them remember the information they learned about the key word. This part is so great because their is no right or wrong answer and the student’s are able to be creative and really think about what the meaning of the key word is in a visual way. The last part of the chart is a Statement. Here the students will be able to use the key word in sentence of their own creation. You will be able to assess their understanding of the key word by how they use it in the sentence.
I love to have my students complete their KIMS charts in their interactive reading journals but you could have your students complete them in Math, Science, or any other subject area journals or binders. These are so great and I promise you that we have really seen a huge change in vocabulary comprehension since starting these last school year! They are such a hit at my school that we had white boards placed on every grade level hallway that we update weekly/bi-weekly with new content area keywords for the whole school to see (These are my little projects and I love when I catch the students studying a board or talking to a friend about a key word that they learned previously)!