Acronyms as teaching tools


It is not uncommon that I get a paper that has “LOL,”  “TTYL,” “BRB,” “SMH,” or even more interesting there are times  I  will call on  a student and they will say “IDK, Miss” as if I am just supposed to know that the student doesn’t know the answer with those three letters.  Granted, I make it my business to know these acronyms and many more so that when I read a piece of writing, I have a vague clue what my students are saying, (but that is another soon to be written post on the intraticies of text speak.) so can begin the process of changing and converting their writing into something that resembles more of the formal practices of standard English.

However, in thinking about it, acronyms are some of our best tools we have as teachers.  Constantly looking for ways in which we can help the students remember a difficult concept or provide them with a quick fix when they are in a bind.  Now half the battle is in making sure they remember what the acronym stands for but the other half, have no fear, the part in coming up with the catchy phrase or word is here.  Well not all of them, but at least a good start.

I am not going to spend to much time in this post on acronyms we can use as teachers as I have started to collect them on their respective content pages, rather want to digress a little further into their importance.

Lets face it – I am sure all of you can think of one acronym that you learned in school.  For me it is “King Phillip Cleaned Our Filthy Gym Socks.”  Mrs. Collins said that to us so many times, I will never forget that the order of classification of animals and plants is Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genius, Species.  It is just one of those things that has stuck with me and I am sure if you are reading this you have one too.

So why is it that in an age where students are surrounded by them and use them all the time do I see teachers shying away from them?  Trying instead to find another means to accomplish the same goal?  It worked for us – for me, I still know the order of animal classification, so why wouldn’t to work for our students?

I do believe one of the best things we can do as teachers is provide our students with the tools they need to survive in the world outside of the classroom.  Will I ever really need to know how to classify animals – probably not but I have learned to embrace acronyms as a way of life lately and I think I am not that scared of them because my teachers useda them often with me.

And if you are looking for more acronyms or have an awesome on to share check out the new and updates pages on the blog for a growing list of them by content area!!!

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