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I need some ideas please!

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My children will be learning some new vocabulary words in our studies this year. (I don't use much purchased curriculum; it's not "perfect" enough for me). I want to teach the new words as we learn them. For example, when learning about India, vocabulary words would include: caste, dynasty, monsoon, bindi, sari, and Sanskrit.


I just don't know what to do with the words - besides explaining them the first time we encounter them. Some of the ideas I've had are:


1. Have the kids each make and keep a 3x5 card for each word (which seems labor-intensive for their ages).

2. Use a crossword generator and/or wordsearch generator to reinforce the words.

3. Make a matching worksheet to reinforce the words.

4. Provide each kid with the words and definitions to refer to when needed (either a list or 3x5 cards).

5. Post the words and definitions to refer to when needed.


They will be in 3rd & 5th grades and we'll have about two weeks to learn eight to ten words. I hope you will have other ideas for me!



Edited by HSmom
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Pictures/posters would be good. Comparisons to things that are similar in their life or to things they've learned about other countries. Physical objects: let them make/wear a sari, write in Sanskrit. Explain monsoon and compare it to the weather in your area.


That's all that pops into my head.

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I'm thinking you could do a lot with index cards.


You could use them as flashcards for review.


You could play memory card games. Where they try to match the definition to the word.


You could even play a form of Go Fish with them in this manner.


You could have them stick the cards on a Vocabulary Tree (poster on the wall).


If what you are going for is familiarity and usage, seems like the index cards would be a great tool.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pour plaster in a flat mold, and have them write their names in Sanskrit in it...

Create your own Caste System at home for a day or longer, and have them role play their caste...then rotate them thru the castes.

Have them make/wear something like the clothes of the region they are studying.

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Hi there,


Words mean nothing if you can't apply them to everyday life.


Let's take your 3 x 5 card idea and expand it - you are right, it is labor intensive, but so worth it if carried out well.


I would incorporate these as 'bonus words' into the spelling list for the week/month. If they get them all at the end of the lesson time (say a month), they get some sort of special play Day or game day or something.


Also, you might look into using a Word Wall. This is similar to a word or spelling tree - just on poster board or paper rather than an object like a 'tree'. I take the words we learn, that are on our lists for the week or month and add them to the 'poster' over time. Every month, I trade it out. Kids also learn just by 'absorption' and looking at it.


Once I remember a challenge word (extra credit point) was 'ridiculous'. One 3rd grade girl told a boy classmate he was ridiculous. Having been sick the week the word was given in the list, the girls' tease was "and you don't even know how to spell it"....His retort? To look her dead in the eye and spell it from memory. :) Because he would look at the spelling words in his 'spare' time, he picked up the words he didn't learn. It's also a great reminder of word blends, suffixes, prefixes, etc.


You could work a 'theme' into the month, do a dress-up day, ethnic food day, copy a 'blank' map of the country and have them draw in the mtns, rivers, capital, etc. Also, if you have any ethnically diverse friends (I don't mean this to sound racist at ALL) ask them to come over for an hour or two and share a bit about their growing up or their culture. I remember when I asked a friend of mine to come in and speak about Lebanon. He showed up in native dress, brought tabouli and babaganoush and baklava and took 2 hours! It was fabulous!


Also, have your kiddos save their work in a 3-ring notebook. Write on the spine what country they are studying, being sure to include the date. These not only work well to house all the work, but also satisfy many state standards for 'portfolio' work. See how sneaky you can be? :)


Above all, have fun!

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Hi Stephanie!


I agree, the boxed curriculum has real limitations. What do you think about Charlotte Mason?


I started last year, and intend to continue lapbooks. for a 3rd and th grader, this might be perfect. All you really need is manilla file folder and fold them into thirds, to make the ends meet ing the middle. Sams has HUGE box for 10 or eleven bucks. Anyway, while the child is studying their lesson on whatever, they place different material in the lapbook, glued, stapled, drawn in directly. My kids LOVE this, and my oldest is going to 7th grade and still loves them. It doesnt feel like a "report" because they can break out the crayons, colore pencils, markers, and have a blast. For specialized things, I let them print it out, but everything else has to be done by hand (that way I check off handwriting practice too!) If you are interested, OM me and I can scan some things in from the books I have. I have a couple of websites, but I have to look them up. I will post those here if you like to for reference.






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I have read that kids learn words best when they use them in sentences. So, have them make up a sentence for each word. It helps with the comprehension of the word.

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