That “AHA moment”

Today in my 7th, 8th, and 9th grade class we were discussing portraits. One student was asking what a portrait is (he missed the intro to the project). Rather than answer the question for him I had the students at the table next to his explain what a portrait is. They talked about how typically the subject is a face, but also about how it doesn’t have to be a face. Then I asked everyone what a landscape is and another student said, “It is a setting.” I was pleasantly surprised by how accurate that definition was. I know from now on in my teaching I will use that word to define landscape. One of my favorite parts about vocabulary is when one student defines something for another (and it usually makes more sense than I do). Where do you find your definitions? How do you arrive at them?

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