Welcome to my blog! Hopefully, you will find my blog a useful resource for information, as well as providing you with an opportunity to get to know me better as a teacher. My name is Kristin, and I am a certified science teacher in the State of Ohio. I have also had experience working as a science teacher in North Carolina and in South Korea where I taught a variety of science subjects. Currently, I am working as a full-time doctoral student in Education.
I have found that one of the biggest challenges for students in being successful on high-stakes tests (standardized tests) in science is that as much as the science tests involve science content, it is also a reading comprehension test. For students who struggle with reading or who may be English language learners, students become frustrated quite easily with science. It is not that they are not gifted or talented students, rather they struggle with the language on the test. One of the toughest obstacles with science is the level of science vocabulary that is found on many tests. I have often told my English language students, that science is often a third language, because you encounter words which you may not find in other classes.
One of the concepts that I have used quite frequently in my classes to build both content and vocabulary is the use of flashcards. This is something that can be very easily done at home, and can help students build patterns or connections to words which equates to building long-term memory.
Below are the following instructions for the vocabulary flashcards which my students utilize:
Using an index card, on the front of the card you will put:
1. the vocabulary word
2. draw a picture associated with the word
For example, on my index card I might right the word "biology" and draw a picture of a "butterfly"
On the back of the index card you will draw four boxes:
1. On the box in the upper left corner you will write the definition of the vocabulary word in your "own words" (In other words, do not just copy it from the back of the glossary)
2. On the box in the upper right corner you will place a word that is a synonym or has a similar meaning or definition for your vocabulary word.
3. In the lower left hand box you will use the word in a sentence.
4. In the lower right hand box you will use a word that has an opposite or different meaning from the vocabulary word (We call those antonyms)
For example, I may define biology as "the study of life" while using the word "ecology" for a synonym and the word "necrology" for an antonym. I may use the following sentence to help me remember what biology means:
"In biology class we study a variety of living organisms."
Of course the biggest challenge for the vocabulary cards is finding appropriate synonyms or antonyms, but it helps to build a student's vocabulary. I also encourage my students to hole punch and place their flashcards on a key ring to keep them from losing their flashcards.