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Bridging the Gap: Vocabulary Instruction to Acquisition. Barb Rupert Franklin Pierce Schools Hey that’s me!. I love my job! I used to love my job, but now I’m really tired. I work primarily at the elementary level. I work primarily in post-secondary.

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bridging the gap vocabulary instruction to acquisition

Bridging the Gap: Vocabulary Instruction to Acquisition

Barb Rupert

Franklin Pierce Schools

hey that s me
Hey that’s me!
  • I love my job!
  • I used to love my job, but now I’m really tired.
  • I work primarily at the elementary level.
  • I work primarily in post-secondary.
  • I work with middle school or Jr. High aged kids.
  • I work with high school students.
  • I mostly work with adults.
  • I deserve a raise!
  • I’ve read a great book recently.
hey that s me1
Hey that’s me!
  • I have children at home.
  • I have an “empty nest.”
  • My children at school are enough!
  • I love to travel.
  • I am invigorated by teaching.
  • I am constantly challenged by my job.
  • I think I found my calling.
  • I need a vacation!
teaching is more challenging than ever
Teaching is more challenging than ever 
  • Changes in classroom dynamics
  • Challenge to meet the needs of diverse learners
  • Accountability for learning for all
  • Focus on learning (acquisition) vs. teaching
why vocabulary
Why vocabulary?
  • Single most important tool for communication
  • Empowers the language student
  • Helps to develop cerebral flexibility
  • Goal is automaticity for greater ease in communication
bridging the gap between instruction and acquisition
Bridging the gapbetween instruction and acquisition
  • Vocabulary presentation
  • Practice
  • Assessment
vocabulary presentation
Vocabulary presentation
  • ‘Chunk’ the information (7-12 words at a time)
  • Present in multiple learning modes
  • Involve questions: The brain is more receptive to questions about new knowledge than it is to answers (Jensen)
  • Create Context
    • Associate directly with meaning
    • Avoid translation
    • Use visuals and examples
      • Create contexts (families, airplane, paper dolls, props)
      • Scavenger Hunt
      • Labeling Activities
scavenger hunt
Scavenger Hunt
  • First time they get the written words for parts around the school
  • Be clear about expectations.
  • Work in teams with a deadline (it’s a ‘race’).
  • Give the labels to people ahead to put up in the morning (Email reminders are good!)
  • Each team has a differently ordered list and a blank map to label.
  • Examples of clues:
    • The secretaries answer the phone here.
    • This is where sick students rest.
    • Students eat lunch here.
    • We play football here.
    • The librarian helps the students in this place.
    • Students do science experiments in this room.
connect to prior learning
Connect to prior learning
  • Knowledge Rating
  • List-Group-Label
  • Think Pair Share
  • K-W-L
knowledge rating scale blachowicz
Knowledge Rating Scale-Blachowicz
  • Create a KRS with 8-10 key words from section of text.
  • Give students a copy.
  • Read each word aloud and have students indicate their knowledge level.
  • Divide into mixed ability pairs or groups to share. Teach them to use the text for context or as a resource.
  • Call on students to complete the chart with the class with definitions or pictures.
make it relevant
Make it relevant
  • Be clear about the purpose
  • Make it personal
    • T charts of likes/dislikes (food, weather, travel)
    • Top 10 (Have them rank chores, activities, classes, small groups discuss)
  • Hook into emotional pathway
  • ‘Begin with the end in mind’

Factors for Learning -Arendal & Mann

  • Frequency
    • Frequency for competent learners
      • 4-14 repetitions to learn
    • Frequency for challenged learners
      • 250-350 repetitions
  • Intensity
    • Practice makes perfect
  • Cross training
    • Connect to other skills and content areas
activities to increase frequency
Activities to increase frequency
  • Hot or cold
  • Fruit basket upset
  • Body ball
  • Counting (pronoun bubbles)
  • Flashcards
fruit basket upset
Fruit basket upset
  • Chairs or desks in a circle, one fewer than the number of participants
  • Each player has a picture or object representing vocabulary words
  • Must have at least three participants with the same picture
  • The person in the middle calls out an object, those participants change chairs
  • The person left calls out another item or items
  • Trade items after a few rounds to practice new words
  • El cubierto
fruit basket upset1
Fruit basket upset

el plato

el cuchillo

la cuchara

el tenedor

la servilleta

body ball
Body Ball
  • Trace or project a human sized body
  • Two teams compete
  • Name the body part to be hit
    • Two points for direct hit
    • One point for hitting body, but not part
    • Negative point for repeating
  • Use nerf or skwoosh ball to avoid annoying colleagues
novelty and variety
Novelty and Variety
  • Students are volunteers
  • Learning must be engaging
  • Use All-respond strategies
    • By definition, if you are calling on a child one at a time, they are not engaged
  • Provide novelty and variety
    • Fortune tellers
    • Hillarium
  • Create decks of cards with matched pairs of the written vocabulary words in target language.
  • Shuffle the cards and deal them all out to students (4-8 in a group)
  • Students begin acting out vocabulary words using gestures and sound effects but no words
  • Students who think they have a match, hold up their cards to check
  • Object is to find matches for all of your cards
vocab words in target language




Eat pizza









Play guitar

Win games

Drink soft drinks

Friends laughing

Traditional music

Barking dog

Dance the macarena

Eat cake

Blow out candles

Vocab words in target language
strategies for practicing
Wait time

“Slowing down may be a way of speeding up.” –Mary Budd Rowe

Focus time

Think time

Exit slips





Four corner reflection

Choice 

Strategies for Practicing
recoding activities students take information and make it their own
Recoding activities: Students take information and make it their own
  • Grouping
    • Categorizing vocabulary (grouping clothing by season, activities by who does them, etc.)
  • Personalizing vocabulary
  • Connecting (to a paperclip or a tree)
  • Creating an image
    • El cuerpo de arte moderno
  • Creating symbols, songs or movements
  • Writing sentences, stories, etc.
remember to reinforce
Remember to reinforce!
  • Give feedback to the students to help prevent misinformation from being stored in the long term memory
  • When possible, use modeling vs. correction
  • Use the information from formative assessments to inform instructional practice
strategies for reinforcement
Strategies for reinforcement
  • Provide positive reinforcement; it has the most profound effect on brain chemistry
  • Keep reinforcement focused
  • Consider learning styles
  • Monitor and graph results
more practice activities
More practice activities
  • Put it to rhythm or song
  • Other graphic organizers
  • Homework and practice
  • Mnemonics
    • Acronyms
    • Acrostics
strategies for review
Strategies for Review
  • Match review to instruction and assessment
  • Review systematically over time, not just before the test
  • Pop quizzes are good for students
  • Review can be fun
    • Jeopardy
  • Our brains will logically access memories that are useful, that have been repeated, and that require the least effort.
        • S. Pinker
  • Retrieval is the ability to access stored memories and use them to solve problems.
  • You can only recall information that has been stored. Cramming doesn’t pay.
  • Eustress vs. test anxiety
  • Match instruction, practice and assessment for maximum performance
  • Provide balanced assessments
  • If they don’t know it, reteach the critical content

Brain Based Learning

“The brain is not designed for continuous learning. In fact, learning is more likely to become permanent when we pause, reflect and process what we encountered.”

Amazing Brain Facts

Eric Jensen