Create A Personal Glossary

From the book series Hands-On Social Studies for Ontario

Social Studies topics can be rich in new vocabulary. In Jennifer Lawson’s upcoming Hands-On Social Studies for Ontario (HOSS-ON), teachers use vocabulary from the social studies topics of study (e.g., natural resources, landforms, rural), as well as words related to the inquiry model (e.g., ask, predict, observe, create, develop), social studies thinking concepts (e.g., cause, consequence, change, result), and spatial skills (e.g., map, globe, atlas, legend, survey). Students are encouraged to use the new vocabulary and terminology both orally and in written form, as appropriate to their developmental stages.

In the upcoming HOSS-ON, students use personal glossaries to record new terminology and define the terms in their own words. Personal glossaries can also include sketches, labelled diagrams, and examples. To create a personal glossary, provide each student with the template (Glossary Template) and a file folder. Students (or the teacher) can then do the following:
1. Make photocopies of the template.
2. Staple the template along the top edge of the right inside page of the file folder.
3. Write the student’s name and social studies unit of study on the front of the file folder.

During each lesson, students can note new vocabulary words. At the end of the lesson, students can use discussion, a dictionary, sentence context, or other means to record a personalized definition for each new vocabulary word(s) in their glossaries. If appropriate, students can add an illustration to help describe the word(s). Over the course of a unit, students will become familiar with the accepted definitions of the social studies terms and be able to use them in other contexts.

To introduce this vocabulary activity, model for students how to write a definition and how to create a graphic representation. Ask students to work in pairs to practise writing definitions and drawing illustrations before asking them to work independently.

The grade 3 edition of Hands-On Social Studies for Ontario will be available June 2014. Subsequent grade levels will follow. To be notified when your grade level (1 through 6) is available, please send your name, grade level, and email address to [email protected].

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