Student voice provided by Dana
First semester in AP Human Geography is a whirlwind. I covered four units and in those four units is a plethora of vocabulary.Being this a freshmen course, they struggle with the ability to retain all of the information. As Dana and other have said, “I need help memorizing the vocabulary in a short amount of time. Since I don’t remember the meaning of some word it causes me difficulties when answering questions. I don’t comprehend the words when I don’t know what they mean which I need help with.” I’m listening to them and I’m attempting to have them visually show their learning for the vocabulary on a consistent basis. One of the ways is to have them create bubble maps or webs to make sense of the material. Here is one on the first day of the semester.
From what I have seen in the first few days, this stopping and working through each word is helping get at just that. As Dana put it, “I wished we word spend more time trying to comprehend the vocab. This would help me remember better because I would learn. Studying one word for more time will help me comprehend and learn.” I’m doing that this semester. They have spoken and I want to honor that.
Spending time on the vocabulary comes a price. One of things Dana highlighted as a positive of first semester was, “What we are doing well in class is when we make presentations. Making presentations makes me comprehend the material even more because I have to research about it. Therefore I like it when we make presentations. I think it helps a lot.” I can’t spend as much time on the presentations and inquiry projects when we are pausing to work through each vocabulary. For now, it’s the trade-off that I’m willing to make. I’ll reevaluate as the semester goes.
For now, the visual maps are stunning. The students are struggling with each concept as they decide where the information goes and how to code it. I’m looking forward to using this more and see how it evolves.