Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vocabulary Section Improvements

About halfway through this school year, I decided that I would revamp the "Math Dictionary" section of our interactive notebooks just a bit.  Don't get me wrong, I really like the Frayer Model:

And, I like having a list of vocabulary words in the beginning of the section:
My real issue was with the order of the list.  Last year, I really wanted to make the vocabulary section like a real dictionary.  So, I listed all the vocab words alphabetically.  It made sense then, but I soon regretted my decision.  Students would end up completing vocabulary for units that we weren't in yet.  It just didn't make sense.

So, this year I reorganized my lists.  The words are now in the order we will come across them.  This will make it easier to check, too.  Last year, I had to keep track of what number each class was up to when I collected notebooks.  This year, students will be responsible for making sure all words are finished from any completed unit.  I'm going to have them color-code each unit, just like we color-coded our Table of Contents this year.  I'm excited for this change!  I'm also thinking of creating my own Frayer template.  I want to make my own "cooler looking" version.  Has anyone made their own??


  1. I am going through this process in my own head right now too. Last year we did vocabulary by unit. Then I saw a great glossary by

    That would be alphabetical. I was thinking of doing that, but your post has me thinking twice.

    decisions, decisions....

    I like the frayer model, but I don't care for the non examples all the time. I don't want my kids seeing something "wrong" and remembering that portion of it.

    Hodges Herald

    1. Yes, I agree sometimes the non-examples can be a bit tedious. I like the kids to be able to show and explain why something does not fit the definition though.

      I'm sure however you set up vocabulary this year will work! Good luck!

  2. Hi Katie,

    Where is the dictionary located in the notebook, and what sized spiral do you use to accommodate all the terms for the school year?

    Thank you!

    1. My students use a standard 5-subject notebook for their interactive notebooks. Three of the sections are the notes part, the fourth section is for their math dictionary, and the last section is for homework.

  3. How much time does it take for your students to set-up the math notebook? I am thinking through this concept in my head...I'd love to try out my own version of an interactive notebook this year and I think the vocabulary would be a good place to start. How do you have students take notes? Any info to help me process this would be great!

    1. Depending on how many informational pages you include in the beginning of your notebook, it can take at least one class period to setup the notebooks. The students tend to get the hang of it quickly though. I use a lot of foldables and graphic organizers for my notes. I also create Smart Notebook files for each section of notes to display on my Smartboard so the kids can follow along. I'll post an example soon!