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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Notebook use    

Notebook use

Nana Lins

Notebook use
Hello dear colleagues. How are you all?
I was wondering how you make your students keep track of the vocabulary and new language items learned in each class.
Do you have them take notes on their notebooks?
Do you give each one of them a handout with what they learned in each class?
How do you review the vocabulary with them?
What about the grammar topics? Do you do the same?
Thanks in advance for your help.
XOXO from Brazil.

4 Nov 2009      


Hi Nana,
I have a very diverse class (students from all over the world and with different proficiency levels). We (Teacher and Students) keep a personal dictionary which we share every while.
The words come from the units we cover in class and some books we read. There is a format for the dictionary to be kept:
Word: /part of speech/ Definition. The word in a sentence [optional translation to native language]
It looks like this (It īs an example I happen to have on my desk):
Work: /verb/  to put my energy to do something. I worked very hard to pull my grades up. [travail]
I hope that helps,

4 Nov 2009     


Hi Nana,
                 What I do is quite simple the students I have are kids so I think that a natural aproach to the language is the easiest way. I dont agree with dictionary definitions. What works is use worksheets created by you with the unit vocabulary . at the begining of the vocabulary give them the list with the pictures ( worksheet) that way the will associate the word with the picture which is great cause they dont try to translate. After they cut and paste you should send sentences mybe some in past and others in present if you are dealing with verbs and if you are not well then spelling, hangman or create groups and tell them a word and the one who writes a sentence correctly first gets a point :) Its a hole process... Notebook introduction then worksheets,, workbooks and games grammar is similar but if you have mnore questions write :) Miss Nat 

4 Nov 2009     



4 Nov 2009     


Hi! I teach Spanish 16-18 year olds who have quite a high level of English. Once the vocabulary you want them to learn is established, I write it up on the board and get them to give me synonyms for each word. They then put the word into a brand new sentence. If there are any doubts still after this, i double check by asking them to translate (this is a last resort). I then follow up a few days later by asking them orally, playing hangman, pictionary or acting the words with the rest of the class guessing. After this it is checked in a written exam a week or so later. Hope this has helped!

4 Nov 2009     


I have them write the word list in their notebooks and translate the words.   I tell them to look for the words in the text and write the sentences they appear in,  in order to see them in context.  

Then I do dictations.  They are given 20 new words to learn each time but each row it tested on 10. They have to correctly write the word and translation.   

When I test,  I tell them which words will be the word bank for a cloze (text with words missing) -  the weaker kids have the word bank on the test,  the higher level don īt,  they have to  remember the words and stick them into the text.

I īve found that they remember more new words this way.   

4 Nov 2009     

[email protected]
United States

I have a notebook that I use with my students using a definition map.
It provides the word, synonyms, an example, a sentence.  What īs nice is that if they are low level English learners they can put pictures instead of words.
                                   work, profession              teacher, doctor
                                 I am paid $8 an hour for my job as a dog walker.
But I have them put it into pretty graphic organizers.  I do not usually like using translations, because that might take forever (multiple languages and meanings).
I use small white boards and verbally (sometimes visually) cue via defenition, synonym, antonym, or a made-up definition that I am looking for and they write it on the whiteboard.  We keep track of the score just for fun or a small treat. 
I never teach more than 8 words at a time, you don īt want memory overload.  I use them often in class so that they hear them being used.  I praise or sticker them if they use it correctly without being asked.  I also don īt teach words without a context.  I hated being given list of words to learn without a context other than "these are words that you need for the kitchen..."  Put vocabulary into practical useage, it is more natural that way. 
But I do think that they need to keep these words in a notebook for review and studying. 

5 Nov 2009     

Nana Lins

Thank you all for the great tips.

5 Nov 2009