Vocabulary is essential in mathematics. In the past I have strayed away from it mainly because it is 'boring' and the past methods I have used have been ineffective. Through online research and collaboration with other teachers, I have been exposed to a variety of methods that work.
"I have..., who has..."
My favorite vocabulary strategy. The first 4 attached files are in reference to this activity. 14-16 students each have a different card. The student how has the card that states "I have the first card" reads that statement and then the "Who has...". The student who has the answer to the "Who has..." reads "I have..." and then their "Who has...". This continues till the last student reads "I have..." and then "The end." You can make it shorter or loner depending on if you want each student in your class to have a card. I have an average of 32 students in a class so I shot for half to have a card. I will time each class to see which class can finish in the least amount of time. This game typically takes about 2-5 minutes depending on the vocabulary. I will start a class with this and then end it with this as well to see how much time each class can shave off their first time. It is also great to use with known vocabulary objectives. I like to use this when teaching logarithms and exponents because it makes each student SAY the proper form. I will have a student at the front of the room time the activity, pass out/collect the cards, and they may write the "Who has..." part on the board. If someone reads the incorrect "I have..." I make the student holding the current "Who has..." read it again. This is to save on complete random guessing. Some classes like to have everyone with a card stand up and then sit down when they read their card. I sometimes tack on some extra points to the class with the fastest time. This has become common place in my teaching. I keep the initial print out as a key and make a copy of it on card stock that I then cut-out and hand out. I did not create the blank word document...I found it online.
You do need 2 fly swatters (try to the Dollar Tree) for this game and I think elementary teachers use this one a good bit but my older students enjoy it! Have the vocabulary show on the board in two columns with an overhead or projector. I then read a definition and the 2 students with the fly swatters try to the first student to "swat" the correct word with the fly swatter. It is entertaining to watch but you do need to be clear the fly swatters are only to tap the words and not others. (I do one class of Juniors that I do not do this activity with). You could even have teams and switch out the "swatter" for each word. This is quick and a great closing activity.
I see no value in word searches but I do see value in crossword puzzles (with no word blanks...that would defeat the purpose in my opinion). The only completely free site I have found is from Discover Education. It is not the best and I have not figured out a way to save a copy but it works!
I love playing taboo and have always wanted to implement it for vocabulary. I plan on doing this in the future by giving each student a word and having this write the "taboo" words. This would be a great addition to any vocabulary day. I was thinking of using flashcards cut in half and adding the new words to the old words so that students were constantly reviewing previous vocabulary. I think groups of 8 (4 on each team) would be optional. Alright, I have convinced myself to do this.
If I am spending a day on vocabulary I will do:
1st: "I have..., who has..."
3rd: Fly Swatter
4th: "I have..., who has..."
I would love to hear what other people are using. This is an area I want to continue to grow in!
Educator who loves math and working with students.