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I have… Who has…? & Words to Know Vocab Preview strategy

I have… Who has…?– Have you tried this vocabulary activity before? I am amazed at how engaged students are while participating, as well as the flexibility to use it in any content area (math… art… you name it). Here’s how it works–file_000-4

  • Students have cards that state an answer and pose a question on a particular topic.
  • Students state their answer and ask a question out loud– for ex. “I have primary colors. Who has the combination of any color plus black?”.
  • Another student then says, “I have shade. Who has the combination of a primary and secondary color?”.
  • Students have to listen to the question asked and provide their answer when asked. Get it?

Try timing it. In a colleague’s social studies classes it is truly a competition to see which class can get through all of the vocabulary the fastest– it is intense! Students love it! In 6th grade math a teacher in my building uses it as a brain break with math facts. One quick note– this activity can be a little “unsafe” for your introverts or those that are struggling with content– be sure to create an environment where it is okay to answer out loud & provide supports, if needed. Have fun!

Words to Know– Vocab Preview– This came through in an e-newsletter from Kristina Smekens this morning. The post explains that before reading students need to be aware of critical vocabulary. The problem is that explicit vocab instruction can take loads of time. Her recommendation is to follow this 4 step process–

  • Provide a simple explanation by completing one of the sentence stems recommended by Dr. Robert Marzano.
    …is someone who…
    …is something that…
    …is a concept that…
    …is the idea that…
  • Tie the word’s meaning to a kid-friendly example. Relate the term to the students’ lives at home, in school, or within pop culture.
    An example of this is…
  • Connect the word’s meaning to the text. Explain how the word will be incorporated into the author’s ideas or the story’s plot.
    In this text, you’ll be reading…
  • Assess students’ general understanding. Before reading the text, have students explain the word to a partner(This is the part that I liked the best). Ensure they have a working understanding of its meaning before reading.

My thought was that this was a great way to introduce vocabulary in any content area under any circumstance, not just before reading. Here’s an idea–

For example, “Today we are going to work on anaerobic exercises such as sprint relays. Anaerobic is the idea that you will work really hard for a short time and then have a short recovery before doing it again. Think of this like a drag race between race cars– it is quick and intense, unlike the Indy 500 which takes a long time at the same pace. Today we will be doing some quick, intense, anaerobic movements. Turn to your neighbor and explain anaerobic exercise to them.” Then, move on with the lesson. Do a quick check for understanding like “thumbs up, thumbs down” to a few examples, like “are burpees anaerobic?” and “is a 5k run anaerobic?”, (and a break!) before moving to the next movement. Then finish the period with an exit ticket asking students to come up with their own analogy for anaerobic exercise.



Instructional coach and former art teacher on the hunt for tips, tricks, strategies, and knowledge to pass along.

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