Loading in 2 Seconds...
Loading in 2 Seconds...
High School Vocabulary Instruction for the Utah Core: Grades 7-12. Emily Sell, MEd Jordan School District. Overview . Context and Background. What we can avoid in vocabulary instruction. Research based vocabulary principles. Ideas for how to teach vocabulary: Morphology
Emily Sell, MEd
Jordan School District
1. Having students look up words in the dictionary so they can copy the definition down verbatim even though they still don’t know what it means.
Supercilious: Egotistical or full of one’s self.
2. Overwhelming students with 50 new words per week especially when they couldn’t possibly retain everything.
3. Telling students the definitions to words without giving them adequate practice using them.
4. Believing that because a student does well on a vocabulary test that knowledge transfers immediately and remains permanent.
5. Getting through a vocabulary unit so we can check it off our list.
1. Use student friendly definitions that students have paraphrased and simplified.
2. Allow students active engagement in their vocabulary learning.
3. Give students a reasonable amount of words to work with (no more than 5-7 per week).
4. Teach students words for which they already have a concept.
5. Give students plenty of opportunities to practice, practice, practice!
Teaching morphology (the study of roots) to students is beneficial because when you teach a root, you give the students the meaning to hundreds of words in the process.
Semantic word analyses can be used to teach students the nuances of words and really get them thinking about how one word differs from another.
In my students’ case, their semantic word analyses led to a powerful discussion about the way we tend to view people that we don’t know. This worked into background for the complicated themes and issues of To Kill a Mockingbird.
I like to use pictures as often as I can when teaching vocabulary so that my students can have a visual that aids them in remembering what the word means.
I have students draw three pictures/contexts where the word could be used and then include the meaning of the word on the back of the page. I often hang up their pictures on a classroom word wall so students can refer to them later.
Once you’ve taught students a word, you can use word sorts to help review the words to ensure students remember them and to deepen understanding.
I like to have my students divide the words we’re working with into two separate piles—letting them choose what two categories in which to put the words.
After talking about the sorts as a class, I have them re-sort the same words into two different categories without using any categories that we talked about as a class. This forces my students to think about the words in a different way each time.
Research supports the fact that students retain words better when they get to choose the vocabulary words they study.
To do this, I have students choose one or two words out of a few chapter selection of the piece we’re reading. I have each student put their word and its definition on the board, and then they vote as a class for their three favorite words. With my two other classes voting, we have nine vocabulary words to work with.
Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2005). Choosing words to teach. In Hiebert, E.H. & Kamil, M.L.(Eds.), Teaching and Learning Vocabulary Bringing Research to Practice (209-222). New York: Routledge.
Bromley, K. (2007). Nine things every teacher should know about words and vocabulary instruction. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(7), 528-537.
Greenwood, S.C. and Flanigan, K. (2007). Overlapping vocabulary and comprehension: Context clues complement semantic gradients.The Reading Teacher 61(3), 249-254.
Kieffer, M.J. & Lesaux, N.K. (2007). Breaking down words to build meaning: Morphology, vocabulary and reading comprehension in the urban classroom. The Reading Teacher, 61(2), 134-144.
Rosenbaum, C. (2001). A word map for middle school: A tool for effective vocabulary instruction. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 45(1), 44-49.