Thursday, 6 December 2012

Building Academic Vocabulary

I just might have mentioned before that I love Ireland's NBSS site. There are actually many reasons to love it, but as a teacher, I especially love two things. One is the organization's understanding that academics and behavior are tightly interwoven. The second is that it provides truly great teaching strategies; not only are students' needs considered, but teacher support is also a focus.

Today we'll look at their collection of Academic Vocabulary Building Activities & Strategies. Every teacher knows that a student must be able to understand and use the vocabulary of learning in order to succeed in any content area. Our students need a deep knowledge of these words in order to "access information about them from memory as they read" and we must explicitly teach both academic words and strategies for learning new ones that they encounter.

You will appreciate the explanation of Robert Marzano's six steps to effective vocabulary instruction, and the suggested methods of implementing each one: 

  • The teacher gives a friendly, informal description, explanation or example of the new vocabulary term.
  • Students give a description, explanation or example of the new term in his/her own words.
  • Students create a non linguistic representation of the word.
  • Students engage in activities to deepen their knowledge of the new word. 
  • Students discuss the new word with one another.
  • Students play games to reinforce and review new vocabulary. 
You'll love even more the thirty-three vocabulary Graphic Organizers provided for your students with so many different activities that they'll never get tired of them! Here's a sneak peek of some of my favorites:

NBSS provides links to six Useful Websites for Vocabulary Activities such as Visuwords and Triptico, that have fabulous vocabulary activities for your kiddos.


Last, but certainly not least, are Games for Learning. From Charades to Pictionary to Taboo to Wordo, you'll find instructions, templates, and links to sites that allow you to create your own puzzles tailored to your students' needs.

Convinced? I thought you would be. Enjoy this great resource and see how much difference it can make for your students' essential academic vocabularies!

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