Monday, May 3, 2010


Some textbooks seem to be big on charts.  The current unit I'm doing in World Link Book 1 has a unit about cities and compares LA and Juneau in terms of cost of living, population, pollution, etc. 

A strategy I use to ensure that students actually take in the information and get accustomed to the vocab is to give them 3 or 4 minutes to study the chart.  I tell them that they'll have to close their books at the end and answer some questions.  Then, while they're looking, I'll draw up the chart on the whiteboard.  I ask them to close their books and I help them to fill in the chart on the board.  I add extra vocab and grammar because the book just has $, $$, or $$$ for cost of living.  I'll add the words, "cheap, affordable, expensive.  Or pollution just has a certain number of smokestacks and I'll add, "a lot of pollution/a little pollution."  

It's not exactly rocket science gimmick, but the students seem genuinely interested in being able to answer my questions and fill in the chart.  It's like a game if they have to close their books.  And my theory about vocab is that you need to take it in, in more than one way.  In this case, they read it first and then saw it on the board again.  Then, they heard me say it out loud.  I'm sure they heard me say "cost of living"  5 or 6 times during the class. 

This can be adapted to anywhere where you need to introduce vocab.

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