Personal organizing refers to asking students to make judgments about words. For example after we exploit a unit in our course book about global warming, I asked my students to look at their vocabulary notes and the lesson materials (handouts + course book) and make a list of the key words that they think they should learn. Afterwards, I draw a mind map on the board and wrote global warming at the heart of it. Then, I elicit other words from their list of key words that could complete the mind map in the sun ray effect. So, the task is grouping words under a category; causes , effects, what needs to be done (and they need to list the target vocabulary underneath each category; to ban, to take a step, take precautions,…etc.) . I think that this tasks works because it displays a useful and meaningful way of organizing the mental lexicon by building semantic mapping through networks and associations.
I often provide students with vocabulary exercises in which they need to make further judgments about the newly learned words and use them in an appropriate context. I sometimes give sentences that exemplify the target words and ask follow up questions; “What is the word form of the word?”, “which word is the underlined word similar in meaning to”? Which of the following meanings of the given word (one word with several meanings) would complete the sentence best? Antonyms? Synonyms…etc.?
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