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Important Things to Consider when Introducing a New Geometry Unit

It is important to front-load a unit of study with your Geometry students. Students need to feel supported without fear of any “gotchas.” This means allowing students in on the concepts that will be on the unit assessment.

When I introduce a unit, I literally speak words such as, “This bulletin board/unit intro page lists the exact concepts that you will be assessed over. I am giving you your study guide at the beginning of the unit.” Students feel relieved to know there will be no surprises. It empowers them to own their mastery of the content. Below you will find some specific ways I front-load a unit.

 
Right Triangle and Trigonometry Bulletin Board/Concept Map

1. Unit Overview/Concept Map Bulletin Board

Use a bulletin board in your classroom and create a road map of what students will learn in the unit. This is not a place for anchor charts, though they are very helpful and serve a necessary purpose. Anchor charts should be made together, teachers with students, and should be a more detailed look into a particular skill or concept. The unit overview is teacher-made and is a broad overview of the major themes of the unit. It provides students with a flow of the learning process. When introducing the unit, go over it with students and then refer to it often throughout the unit. This helps students visualize the contents and understand where they are in the big picture of the unit.

Practical tip: I leave the map or most of the map up for the unit test. I will take down some parts that are too helpful sometimes, but leave the bones of it as a support for them. I take it down entirely right after the unit test and put up the following map so we can begin the next unit the next class.

2. Unit Intro Page for Student Notebooks


The unit intro page is similar to the bulletin board, but is for individual student use. I make and print these on colored paper for the students to place at the front of the unit in their interactive notebook. As I mentioned above, I let them know this is a guide to what will be on their assessment. On this unit intro page, I include all the relevant vocabulary and Desired Learner Outcomes in the form of “I can,” statements.

Triangles and Congruence Word Wall
 
 
example of magnets on the back of laminated word wall terms
 
 

3. Vocabulary Word Wall


Speaking of relevant vocabulary, it is also crucial to display current content vocabulary on your walls. Figure out a way that works for you and your classroom set-up, but try to make sure your walls are covered in current content, so that it changes every few weeks. For me, I have an extra whiteboard at the back of my classroom, so after I print and laminate my vocabulary, I place magnet tape on the back. (This makes it easy to put up, take down, move, and reuse.) I place the words on the board as they are introduced and I try for no more than 8 new content words per lesson.

Hopefully you found some ideas to help introduce your Geometry units to maximize student success. If you are wanting to save yourself some time and energy, you can find the Bulletin Board Concept Map resources I use HERE and the Word Walls I use HERE.

If you are interested in reading more teaching strategies in Geometry, try this fun and free Unit Circle lesson!

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