Definition and Example Definition: Vocabulary indicates a student's ability to determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases using a variety of strategies, including: -Sentence-level context clues -Using affixes to determine word meaning -Using root words -Using glossaries, dictionaries or other reference resources Vocabulary also involves a student's ability to show that they understand word relationships and nuances in word meaning, and his or her acquisition and use of conversational, general academic and content-specific words and phrases (Reutzel & Cooter, 2012, p. 209).
Example: When a child is reading a text and comes to the word bracing, she notes that the sentence describes a sailor holding on to a mast to keep from being tossed overboard during a storm. She concludes that bracing must be a verb that means to steady oneself by holding onto or leaning against a stationary object.
Instructional Resources Example 1: Vocabulary Foldable -Introduce five vocabulary words using appropriate strategies (see instructional practice suggestions below). -Using the template available at this link, students will record each word, its definition, a symbol or picture that represents it, and a sentence containing it that shows the student's understanding of the word.
Example 2: Vocabulary Improv -This kinesthetic game allows students to practice new vocabulary by associating it with a gesture that relates to each word. -Students stand in a circle. The first student says his or her vocabulary word, then shares a gesture that illustrates some aspect of the word's meaning. Everyone else repeats the word and associated action. After all students have said and acted out their words (and the group has echoed them), then the fun part begins. One student says his or her word and does the action that goes with it. Immediately after, he or she says another student's word and does that word's motion. The student whose word was said must repeat his or her word and motion, then quickly choose, say and act out another student's word and motion. If students pause for too long or do the wrong gesture with a word, they must sit down. -This link contains detailed instructions and a video demonstration of the game.
Instructional Practices Example 1: Frayer Model Graphic Organizer -This classic strategy helps students connect unfamiliar vocabulary to their background knowledge. -Find vocabulary words to introduce to students using meaningful context, like a picture or video. -Plan a student-friendly definition to share with students, as well as characteristics of the term, and examples and non-examples of it. -This instructional strategy is particularly helpful when teaching informational texts or academic vocabulary (Reutzel & Cooter, 2012, 220-221). -Use this link to see more directions for using this strategy as well as a printable graphic organizer.
Example 2: Word Wall -Word walls draw students' attention to a variety of important vocabulary words, including: -High frequency words -Content area words (like those highlighted in a science or social studies unit) -Useful words for a book students are reading -Some basic guidelines for using this practice to develop student vocabulary include: -Word walls should be located prominently in the classroom -Words should be added gradually and sparingly -Words should be easily removable for classroom activities -Remove words when they are no longer needed -Students should be expected to spell all word wall words correctly in their writing -Short, 5-10 minute word wall routines can be incorporated throughout the day as lesson openers or closers and at transition times (Reutzel & Cooter, 2012, p. 222-223).
Example 3: Word Sorts -An additional vocabulary instructional practice that can tie in with word wall use is word sorts. -Open word sorts are student-directed activities in which children group word wall words according to how they think they are related, and provide headings for each self-determined category. Closed word sorts are teacher-directed activities for which the teacher chooses the categories in advance into which the students will sort the words (Reutzel & Cooter, 2012, p. 223-224). -One especially intriguing use for the closed sort version of this strategy is to have students sort social studies vocabulary terms for a unit of study on the Revolutionary War into categories, like words related to types of or specific people, words related to types of or specific places, words related to battles, and words related to political action. Students could work independently, with partners or in small groups to sort a list of terms, which might include: enlist, mercenary, campaign, turning point, and negotiate(Reutzel & Cooter, 2012, p. 224).
Authentic Assessment Example 1: Vocabulary Definition Screening -This is a quick, self-assessment that students complete in advance of instruction, on which they note whether they know a word well (established), know something about it and can relate it to something (acquainted) or do not really know the word (unknown). -The teacher uses the information gleaned from each child's assessment to create a class profile that shows how well students understand each of the upcoming key vocabulary words. -This information provides a starting point for small group instruction, since the teacher has a clear idea of which students need support with specific words (Reutzel & Cooter, 2012, p. 213-214).
Example 2: Diagnostic Morphology Sampling Assessment -The teacher creates flash cards on the computer that include words selected from graded word lists. Each word should contain one of the affixes with which students need to be familiar for that grade. -For each word, the teacher informally assesses each student in a group to find out whether they can answer the following questions: -What is it? -What is it like? (the student can give three possible responses) -Can you give an example (the student can give three possible responses) -In this way, the teacher can determine whether students have mastered a term, are merely acquainted with it, or do not know it at all (Reutzel & Cooter, 2012, p. 215-216).