The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

A Fun and Effective way to Build Student Vocabulary

I have to share another fabulous technique I’ve learned in the brilliant BrainSMART program. This technique revolves around vocabulary building.

Why Vocabulary Matters

Vocabulary is a skill that frequently does not get the attention it deserves. However, its importance cannot be overstated. As students learn, their brains are always looking for ways
to tie new information to pre-existing knowledge. In this way, the
brain is able to chunk information into existing neural networks, thus
making retention and retrieval more likely. With this in mind, consider
two students reading a new text. The first student did not come from
an enriched background, and has a limited vocabulary. Even though his
decoding ability is at an adequate level, he is not familiar with
several of the words in his text. His comprehension is therefore
limited. The next student was exposed to an enriched vocabulary from an
early age. As this student reads his new text, he is able to
understand all the words. When he comes across an unknown word, he is
able to figure it out through context clues. Decoding skills being
equal, vocabulary made the difference. The playing field needs to be
leveled!

Level the Playing Field

A teacher can level the playing field through explicit vocabulary instruction. This does NOT mean copying definitions from the dictionary! Instead, one option is to try what I
call Word Tallies. I gave my second graders three new words last
Monday: peculiar, quaint, and stupendous. After introducing the words
and discussing meanings, I gave students the option of dramatizing the
words (which is another strategy in itself). One pair dramatized a
phone conversation about something they found peculiar. The next acted
out a quaint tea party. The last pair had a discussion about how
stupendous their teacher is! Finally, I put the words on the wall.
Every time someone in the classroom (even me) used one of the words, the
word earned a tally mark. Students could even earn tally marks by
using the words at home (even other family members could add to the
points). I emailed parents to give them a heads up. By the end of the
second day ‘peculiar’ was used 40 times, ‘quaint’ was used 35, and
‘stupendous’ was used 45 times! It was stupendous! We kept our count
with tally marks, and then moved the data to a chart to analyze our
results.

Finally

It was clear by the end of the second day that students had a firm grasp of the meaning of all three words. Would they have gotten the same understanding by copying definitions from the
dictionary? I don’t think so. The icing on the cake came in an email
from an ESL parent. She said her son came home and taught HER the words
and definitions! Wow. The sprinkles on top of the icing… students
were able to read the words. This is now a weekly activity for my
class.

I’m learning many other vocabulary building strategies as well. This idea came from one of my BrainSMART class books, Classrooms That Work: They Can All Read and Write, by Cunningham & Allington.

Views: 38

Comment

You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Leona Hinton posted a discussion

AI has never been so close

Dear colleagues,As an English teacher, I can not but share with you a brilliant and smart artificial intelligence tool that is going to be launched this month. Meet Emma, a self-learning authorship recognition tool that will revolutionize the world of education and academic writing. Everyone is welcome to test its beta version here http://emmaidentity.com/, just leave a request and you won't be disappointed. Has anyone already heard about…See More
Wednesday
Eileen Lennon posted a blog post

Wrapping up another year

I teach sixth grade, so I will be saying goodbye to my students in about a week. I'll see them in the hallways, but it won't be the same. They'll never be in my classroom again. That's weird to think about right now, when all I do is see them.It has me wondering; did I serve them as best I could? Did I impart all the wisdom I could into their little brains? Did I ignite a spark, or reaffirm a defeatist attitude?I have to be honest, there are some kids I won't miss. You know the kids I'm talking…See More
Jun 19
Stephani Shaw updated their profile
Jun 18
Christine Hinkley posted an event

OLC Collaborate - Arizona at University of Arizona

September 29, 2017 all day
We will work together to define and help shape the changing university! Join OLC in Tucson for engaging speakers and dynamic discussions revolving around the topics of virtual and augmented reality, gameful learning, access to education, and the future of education. Presentations will be followed by facilitator-led discussions to allow participants to delve into each topic in greater detail.See More
Jun 16
Ronald Thomas posted a blog post

How to Enhance your Influencer Marketing?

What is Influencing Marketing?Influencer marketing is a kind of advertising that underscore on utilizing key pioneers to drive your image’s message to the loftier market, instead of promoting straightforwardly to a substantial gathering of purchasers.To put in simple words, influencer marketing is just the activity of advancing and offering items or administrations through influencers who have the ability to affect the character of a brand.Why is Influencing Marketing Important Today?Though…See More
Jun 14
Ruth Herman Wells posted events
Jun 11
Teresa Conley liked Eileen Lennon's blog post So I accidentally blew up on Twitter last week.
Jun 9
Teresa Conley replied to Teresa Conley's discussion Getting the same technology for students in specialized classrooms as the gen. ed. classrooms in the group Special Education
"You are correct which makes this a even more sad situation. It can easily be said that the students with disabilities who are included in the general education classrooms do receive the same level of technology as their non-disabled peers. However,…"
Jun 9

Awards And Nominations

© 2017   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service