For students to create those vital connections to content, they should be provided with as much visual context as possible. This key component of any lesson clarifies for students important vocabulary. Why is this crucial to their mastery of content? If teachers verbally explain/define core content words in the academic language, they will lose students who encounter many difficulties in deriving meaning from challenging vocabulary. An verbal explanation with antonyms, synonyms, analogies, examples, and non-examples will leave such students behind. Referring them to dictionaries is also an activity that yields little support since difficult words are being explained by often times equally challenging words.
Regardless of the learning styles of students, visuals are key tools to opening the door to academic success for English language learners as well as English speaking students who have a difficult time learning. The saying that picture is worth a thousand words fits in this scenario with ease. Instead of inundating academically weak students with lengthy definitions of content vocabulary, provide visuals, graphics, posters, charts, photographs, etc. of crucial lesson vocabulary.
So how can teachers find and store key visuals to use in class? Pinterest is a great free source to compile great visuals from a wide variety of sources found on the site. Teachers create bulletin boards (as many as they like) on topics that they wish to "pin" what they find. Further, in navigating the net, there are many opportunities to add web photos, videos, graphs, etc. if the PIN button is found on the page. If teachers also like to create their own visuals for class, they may pin them on this site as well.
Have fun pinning:)
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