Are you looking for ways to improve vocabulary instruction in your day to day lesson plans? Keely from our Learners Edge Curriculum and Instruction team has some very helpful tips and tricks for you!
What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?
Hi, I'm Keely, and in all seriousness, vocabulary instruction is imperative to academic success. Research tells us that learning vocabulary is not just incidental, but that it must be explicitly taught.
Additionally, we know that multiple exposures to the vocabulary word in different settings helps solidify a student's understanding of the word. They need to speak it, hear it, read it, and write it to internalize it. Here are three vocabulary strategies that you can use to engage your learners with vocabulary:
- The first strategy is called the word sort. Students are given a stack of words--including the vocabulary word, antonyms, synonyms, descriptors, et cetera--and in small groups students are asked to sort the words and explain their logic. This forces them to use the vocabulary in conversation, and the definitions and characteristics to sort the terms.
- The second strategy is about personalizing. Students need to connect their prior knowledge with the new vocabulary. When you can personalize activities, it aids that connection and increases the likelihood of internalization. Examples include having students write definitions in their own words, find examples and non-examples of the targeted word, make a picture collage. Pics4learning.com a great, easy to use visual search engine. They could draw a symbol for the vocabulary word, or act it out, or you could create a vocabulary menu.
- Finally, make cross-curricular connections. Work with your grade level team members to identify vocabulary used in multiple places and then draw connections for the students, or better yet, have them find the connections. This is key to providing multiple exposures to the vocabulary word. Vocabulary is key to academic success.
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