Vocabulary Strategies

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Activities to help support vocabulary instruction

Smekens Education Solutions, Inc.

Take Advantage of Root-Word Instruction

Teaching students every word in the English language is impossible. But teaching students how words work leads students to unlocking many other words.

Assess Vocabulary with Cloze Passages  After teaching a new concept, it's necessary to assess students' overall understanding and comprehension. When the instruction includes a heavy dose of new vocabulary, a cloze strategy works well.  At first glance, a cloze passage may appear to be a simple fill-in-the-blank worksheet. However, if teachers follow these five steps, they can develop a tool that measures students' comprehension of essential vocabulary.

Assess Vocabulary with Cloze Passages

After teaching a new concept, it's necessary to assess students' overall understanding and comprehension. When the instruction includes a heavy dose of new vocabulary, a cloze strategy works well.

Identify 10-15 General Academic Words per Grade Level Standardized tests measure students' reading comprehension--however it's not just their understanding of the passage(s) that is being assessed. Eighty-five percent of achievement on these tests is based on understanding the academic language within the questions (Marilee Sprenger, 101 Strategies to Make Academic Vocabulary Stick).

Identify 10-15 General Academic Words per Grade Level

If students do not accurately interpret the function of general academic words, they will miss points on standardized tests--not because they didn't understand the passage but because they didn't understand the question.

Some teachers struggle to identify the 30 core terms to target in any given content area. Examples get mistaken for concepts. As we narrow our vocabulary instruction to focus on core words, it's important to remember that there is a difference between "examples" and "concepts." Narrowing down the core vocabulary list means prioritizing the important words that represent the bigger concepts students need to succeed.

Omit Examples from Core Vocabulary Lists

Some teachers struggle to identify the 30 core terms to target in any given content area. Here are three tips that might be helpful in whittling down the list.

Traditionally, publishers of textbooks have given a list of important vocabulary words at the beginning of a text to introduce to the students ahead of time. In the past, class time was used to pre-teach the words to students by looking words up in the dictionary and then using them in sentences. This practice can take away much needed class time that could be used to actually read the text.

Pre-Teach Only the Most Critical Vocabulary

In the past, class time was used to pre-teach words to students by looking words up in the dictionary and then using them in sentences. This practice can take away much needed class time from actually reading a text.

The original game Hedbanz, an entertaining guessing game, can be easily adapted as a vocabulary review activity for the classroom. Using vocabulary terms from any content area, this fast-paced activity will help students recall word meanings automatically.

Review Terms & Roots with Headbands

The game Hedbanz, an entertaining guessing game, can be adapted as a vocabulary review activity in the classroom. Using vocabulary terms from any content area, this fast-paced activity helps students move recall from deliberate to automatic

Individual vocabulary notebooks can be a useful tool to support students as they learn subject-specific and domain-specific terms. They can be useful. Vocab notebooks could also be nothing more than a worksheet that adds little value. The key to a powerful vocabulary notebook is realizing its purpose of holding a student’s growing understanding of a term.

Maintain Vocabulary Notebooks

Students should maintain their thinking about discipline-specific terms in an on-going resource--like a vocabulary notebook. Every time you work with a word, the students can jot this information into their vocabulary notebooks.

Vocabulary provides background knowledge and connections to comprehension. Robert Marzano’s research stresses direct vocabulary instruction follows a 6-step process.

6 Traits of Writing | Professional Development by Smekens Education - Add a Tech Twist to Marzano Six

Vocabulary provides background knowledge and connections to comprehension. Robert Marzano�s research stresses direct vocabulary instruction follows a 6-step process.

Distinguish Between Key Terms and Their Synonyms--Vocabulary instruction typically includes multiple layers of understanding. Explanation, definitions, pictorial representations, word parts, and sentence writing are all common strategies to support students in their growing knowledge of a new concept. Relating terms to synonyms can also be a powerful tool.

Distinguish Between Key Terms and Their Synonyms

Relating terms to synonyms can be a powerful tool. By connecting an unfamiliar word to an already known word, students can begin to understand the meaning of the new term.

Targeting Vocabulary Using Visual Clues--A lot of teachers have kids draw pictures to represent words. This is a great strategy, and probably the most popular approach to achieving a visual representation of the word. A different twist to this approach is to have kids find photos to represent the words. For example, if the word is "confined,” students have to find a photo that represents "confined.”

6 Traits of Writing - Reading - Professional Development

Leading provider of reading and writing professional development. Services include 6 traits of writing, writer workshops, and reading and writing mini-lessons. Locations in Indiana and Illinois.

Assess Independent Reading with a Cloze Activity--Cloze is short for closure. So a cloze activity can bring closure to a reading assignment by assessing how well students understood a passage after reading independently. During a cloze activity, students complete a fill-in-the-blank summary of the passageBigIdeas header WITHOUT looking back at the original text.

6 Traits of Writing - Reading - Professional Development

Leading provider of reading and writing professional development. Services include 6 traits of writing, writer workshops, and reading and writing mini-lessons. Locations in Indiana and Illinois.

5-Minute Vocab Review Ideas

fortheteachersblog.org

Turn those extra few minutes of class into valuable time to review vocabulary or content or to reflect on recent learning.

Vocabulary notebook idea

vocabulary notebooking

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