2 Column Notes and Definitions, with a Twist
As a class, students puzzled out that gulfs and bays (for 6th graders, there is no need to study the difference!) are both bodies of salt water. Upon closer look, students worked together to evaluate the shapes of the gulfs and bays and came to the conclusion that it must be how the coastline bends around. Words tossed out by students were ‘curved’, ‘u-shaped’ and ‘c-shaped’, in addition to a few gesturing with arms or drawing pretend lines in the air. Students then put the definition down on their 2 column notes, using whatever phraseology worked best for them. Many also included arrows, other diagrams or fully colored sketches.
Instead of providing the definition and having students copy it down, they became more engaged and used many critical thinking skills to decipher meaning and visual literacy. We often ask them to illustrate a word for meaning, but this time the provided image led to meaning. It is also a form of categorizing - why are these landforms grouped together by name? From here, students will transfer their 2 column notes to a top-down web, including creating the category names now knowing the definitions of the places. Hopefully when it’s time to identify physical features in the world and evaluate their uses, these strategies will help students truly understand them!