Empowering Writers

Stretching Myself

What does it look like and why is it important chart

This quote is something that my principal is always saying to us.  Well today, I was pushed WAY outside of my comfort zone, as I worked with one of my coworkers who teaches 8th-grade social studies.

His class was studying about the War of 1812… something I know literally nothing about, but our school is incorporating EW in all subjects, so he asked if I could come in and teach a lesson.  As I entered, I saw grown-up versions of the students who I had taught in 4th grade a few years ago. I was extremely nervous teaching in a class where I knew next to nothing about the content.  After annotating their passage,  we went through and highlighted all of the important people and groups involved in the war. I then showed them how to use the detail generating questions “What does it Look Like” and “Why is it Important” to create a well-elaborated definition for the word.  After modeling with the word nationalism, students began to work on their assigned vocabulary word in small groups.  As I monitored the room, the conversations I was hearing was so exciting!  The students were going back and telling each other everything they could remember from the prior knowledge obtained in earlier lessons.  The finished product was so much more than just a few words on a poster.  The students showed a much deeper meaning for the word that they were writing about.

Are you struggling to teach vocabulary?  Do you have a teacher friend that might be able to connect this strategy in science or social studies?  This tool can be used in all content areas to teach vocabulary.  Look at the samples below and see how you can use this strategy too! (click to enlarge)




What Does it Look Like? Why is it Important Chart
(click to download)

What does it look like and why is it important chart