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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Doing Things Differently: Vocabulary Instructional Strategies

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I hated copying down a new list of 25 words for vocabulary test from the blackboard each week in sixth grade English. Then we would go online and check up the definitions, which we would then copy down. We had to rewrite every word seven times as part of our homework.

That is good to know now. The test is on Friday, and those 25 words will never be heard again. The assignment is unremarkable, to be sure. Is everything all right now? I have no recollection of saying that. It is unlikely.

We may all agree that memorizing definitions from a dictionary are a waste of time to improve our 6th-grade vocabulary. Passive education is rarely effective. When it comes to teaching, it is easy to fall back on old methods because that is how we learn. Instead, teachers should look at student data and the most recent research before trying something new with their students.

Students, according to research, need many and varied exposures to a word before they completely understand it and can put it to good use in their writing. They should also be taught terms in context rather than weekly lists that come and go. Of course, reading and then reading some more is the best way to pick up new vocabulary that way. As a result of this, every classroom needs a well-stocked library consisting of high-interest, age-appropriate materials.

  • Word Choice Analysis

The amount of information that needs to be conveyed is staggering. No one has to decide on which words should receive extra attention when teaching them. One of the most common mistakes teachers make while teaching vocabulary is selecting all of the terms for the class without consulting the pupils.

During my first year of teaching, I read through every chapter of my tenth graders and made a list of all the vocabulary words I anticipated they would struggle with. This allowed me to pre-teach them.

When I saw those lengthy lists, I started to panic. What will I do with all this class time if I teach all these words on top of everything else? The first mistake I made was compiling lists instead of letting the students read chapter one and choose their terms.

As soon as pupils have chosen their own words, follow these steps from spellquiz.com:

Having your students write down terms they like and rate how well they know them is a great way to see how well they grasp the material.

Once they have done that, ask them to write a definition or “my guess on meaning” for each word they know or have heard of.

Before having them turn in their pre-reading charts, be sure to explain that this is not about “being perfect” but rather about providing you with information to help you with the next steps in vocabulary instruction in your classroom.

Take the time to go over each one and use the information as a learning tool. Knowing what words they know, what words they understand, and what terms are utterly unfamiliar to them will be revealed by this information.

This round was started by the students, who chose and rated the words. It is now your turn to place them.

  • Classification Of Words

If you are trying to decide which vocabulary words need the most practice, consider Isabel Beck’s three-tiered system for classifying words:

Tier One:

rudimentary terms for which teaching is rarely required (door, house, book).

Tier Two:

Wörter, which frequently occurs in many areas, uses mature, academic language (coincidence, reluctance, analysis).

Tier Three:

It is uncommon to come across these words outside of a few specialized disciplines of study (isotope, Reconstruction, Buddhism).

Teaching the tier two words to pupils, according to Beck, will have the most significant impact on their academic performance (since these appear with much higher frequency than deck three words and are used across domains). Pre-reading vocabulary charts are a great place to look for “kind of” or “do not know much” words you can use as tier two words. This is the time to do that. Just select the words directly connected to the chapter, article, short story, or whatever you will be reading from the content-specific terms (tier three).

As a result, you now have a master list of words.

  • Language Instruction

Robert Marzano is someone you may not be familiar with. Because of his extensive research into students and educators, this man is very remarkable. He is both an education researcher and a teacher, and he believes that direct vocabulary training is critical in all subject areas.

Step one:

A new term is explained in depth by the teacher, who goes beyond just reciting its description (tap into prior knowledge of students, use imagery).

Step two:

Restate or explain the new word verbally or in writing in your own words.

Step three:

Ask pupils to develop an alternative way of representing the word (a picture or symbolic representation).

Step four:

Activities help students better understand new words (compare words, classify terms, write their analogies and metaphors).

Step five:

A new term is introduced and discussed by the students (pair-share, elbow partners).

Step six:

Students engage in games to review new vocabulary regularly (Pyramid, Jeopardy, Telephone).

Vocabulary acquisition has never been easier, thanks to Marzano’s six simple stages. They make it more enjoyable by adding humor to it. When students learn new words, they engage in the following activities: discussion, application, and play.

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