At the beginning of each SS unit, I begin with vocabulary and maps. This way students get the location and the key terms and they have a good base for what we are learning. I think it is pretty clear by now for most teachers that having students simply copy definitions is not effective for most learners. They rush through it to complete it and they rarely think of the words again until it is too late and they need them.
I started using this TIPS chart last year and found it to be much more effective in not only getting students to interact with their vocab words more, but also in getting them to use their work throughout the unit. It has an organized appearance and it is easy for students to access and use as a reference when it is glue into an interactive student notebook.
The TIP chart provides the unit, essential question for the unit, and all of the terms to the students. The student must look up the definition, use the word in a sentence (or rephrase into their own words--your choice), and draw a small picture to represent the term.
-GREAT FOR ACCOMS/MODS!!
The best part about this chart for me was the way in which it allowed me to customize the vocab for my different learners, quickly. For advanced students, I simply gave them the term and they had to do the rest on their own. For my standard learners, I would provide them a complex definition and the term, and they then had to either use it in a sentence or rephrase the definition in their own terms. They also had to create their own image to represent the term. For students who were not on grade level, had SPED accoms/mods, or ESOL with accom/mods, I would provide a simplified definition, have them rephrase in their own terms (or use Google Translate to put it in their first language), and finally, I would provide printed images for them to glue that helped them identify the term. With just one chart, I was able to reach a variety of learners!
I hope that this is helpful for your students and that you have a wonderful school year.