SDAIE Feature 8: Emphasizing Key Vocabulary (Introduced, written, repeated, and highlighted for students to see, high frequency words, word wall, word sorts, personal dictionaries)
Emphasizing key vocabulary words in the classroom can play a large role in the language development of your students; especially English Language Learners.
As an educator you hold the key to their success. So what are you waiting for? Open the doors to vocabulary success now!
There is no silver bullet method for vocabulary instruction. Vocabulary should be taught both directly and indirectly. In fact, the least effective instructional practice is the memorization of word definitions.
Ø Direct Teaching
Wide reading: The more you read, the more vocabulary you learn
Highlight and discuss with your students words you encounter and derive meaning from context clues, together!
Ø Indirect Teaching
Promote “word consciousness”
Select Vocabulary Words which we already do during our DRTA lessons!
Unfamiliar. Ask yourself: “How difficult is this passage to understand?”
As you can see there is no one best method for vocabulary instruction. Possibilities are endless! Your English language learners come in different developmental stages. Practicing many methods in their vocabulary learning benefits their chances of comprehension and fluency at grade-level.
v Here’s a format of how to emphasize Key Vocabulary in your classrooms.
ü Introduce- First introduce the vocabulary to your students. Make sure it is grade-level appropriate. Engage your students by providing visuals and examples of each new word.
Connect the vocabulary to their schema! Your students background knowledge of the word if possible.
ü Write- Then Write the new word on the board. Sounding out the word and making your own connection. (modeling what you expect from your students)
ü Repeat- Next repeat the word so your students can understand how to pronounce the word correctly and correctly use it in a sentence. Ask the class to repeat after you. Remember your students are new to the language. Be patient .
ü Highlight –If using a jumbo notepad highlight the key words for students to easily identify them. Also point to the word you are teaching. You can also use a ruler for students to follow. If using a white board, underline or use a different color marker to highlight each of your key words.
ü High Frequency Words- These words are words that your students use in everyday English language. You can organize the list of high-frequency words by grade-level. You can post the words on your classroom walls and refer to them whenever you need to with your class. It is very helpful when your students can easily find and use these words in their everyday practice.
ü Word Wall- You can create a word wall in you classroom with the key vocabulary you are currently focusing. Make connections from vocabulary you are using from a story, assignment or article you are working with your students.
ü Word Sort- You can create this graphic organizer and post on your classroom walls. Categorizing and sorting your key vocabulary.
ü Personal Dictionaries- Give you students access to dictionaries in the classroom as well as creating opportunities to work in groups or pairs on finding many of their key vocabulary words from the dictionaries. Then later discuss as a class their definition and meaning of each new word. Allowing students to create their own meaning of the word and example provides opportunities for them to make their own connections!
v Remember Consistency is Key
Always provide your students with the opportunity to see, practice and sort their new vocabulary, link new words to their prior knowledge!
v Learn more on Vocabulary Instruction!
v Check out this Video from our ASES YouTube website!
SDAIE Feature 11: A Variety of Techniques Used to Make Content Concepts Clear (body language, gestures, pictures, objects to accompany speech, small group instruction, previewing material, allow multimedia, repetition, sentence strips).
Gone are the days when TV sets like the one seen below are in use. No more fiddling with the “rabbit ear” antenna to try and rid the screen of all the fuzziness; or even worse, having to tolerate a picture that is a bit fuzzy and squinting your eyes to make it clear. It feels like ages ago when we last saw, or can even remember a TV set like this. Nowadays we have High Definition on TV sets with displays made of plasma, LED, or LCD screens; we even have TV’s with 3-D! The modern advances just make us laugh that we ever tolerated a picture that was a bit fuzzy. However, for our English Language Learners, having to tolerate a “fuzzy picture” is an everyday struggle.
English Learners are tasked with trying to understand the English language and what their educators are saying. Add to that a never-ending list of things to comprehend like synonyms, antonyms, consonant digraphs, diphthongs, similes, metaphors, theme, plot, setting and so much more. Describing this process as an uphill battle for English Learners is an understatement; therefore, when we at ASES Prep are explaining our mini-lesson, or centers, or club activity to our English Learners it is crucial that we make the “picture” as clear and as easy to understand as possible.
So, how do we create a clear “picture” for them?
Well, as the feature states we do this by using: body language, gestures, pictures, objects to accompany speech, small-group instruction, previewing material, allow multimedia, repetition and sentence strips.
But what does each one mean, exactly?
Let’s break them down:
A lot of these methods are already built into our program and you may be thinking, “Hey, I already do some of these.” Fantastic! Keep doing what you’ve already been doing because research proves that these strategies not only greatly increase comprehension for our English Language Learners, but for all learners alike!
Check out the following video of a Guided Reading Lesson facilitated by ASES Prep's very own Ms. Reyes at Moffitt Elementary.
SDAIE Feature 1: Standards and ObjectivesAt the beginning of this academic year, each of us at ASES Prep embarked on what we knew would be an incredibly challenging, yet exceedingly rewarding journey. With our curriculum maps in one hand and our lesson plans in the other, we hopped on the ASES Prep big yellow bus, preparing to be the drivers of our own classrooms. But what good are our maps and plans without clear destinations or endpoints?
I’m a lover of driving, and aimlessly hitting the road for the sheer amusement of getting lost and testing my geographical savvy is actually one of my favorite, and increasingly expensive, pastimes. But when it comes to education and the urgency brought on by the ever-expanding Achievement Gap, not knowing where we’re going is a luxury we can’t afford.
Having a destination, whether it is in a car, in life, or in your classroom, quite literally provides you direction. And in turn, when you have direction, you are more likely to successfully reach your destination. Classroom objectives are much like the GPS devices in our cars. They represent what students will be learning and how they will be learning it.
But how do visible learning objectives support English Language Learners? Why read the objective with the class?
Well, let’s return to my mediocre analogy of the ASES Prep big yellow bus. Let’s imagine for a moment…
The bus doors slide open, and I, you’re charmingly bubbly and remarkably handsome bus driver, enthusiastically invite you aboard. You’ve packed a few belongings you felt essential: A jacket, some snacks, a book on classroom management. You proceed to relax in your luxurious green vinyl seat made of fire retardant foam padding when you notice that I begin to steer off course. The scenery around you begins to change and instead of being on the 5 North, the bus is heading East on Interstate 10 towards Arizona! You begin to panic and think to yourself, “I did not pack for this!”
Being the charmingly bubbly and remarkably handsome bus driver that I am, I attempt to pacify your uneasiness with, “Don’t worry… I have no idea where I’m going.” (Insert happy face).
The fact of the matter is objectives are not just there for you; they are there for students as well. They give students, particularly English Language Learners, the opportunity to pack their intellectual bags in preparation for the journey they are about to embark on. By reading the objective to and with the students, you are clarifying the instructional destination, and the cognitive route in which you and your students will take to get there. Conversely, not sharing with students the learning objective can lead to flat tires and well, a rough ride in general.
How to Write a Learning Objective
The learning objective is the focal point of each learning activity. It is a description of an intended learning outcome and is the basis for the rest of the activity. Learning objectives are generally written based on learning outcomes. This means it should articulate the end goal, the skill that you want students to be able to walk away with then they exit your classroom at the end of the day.
Objectives should include the following: Content, conditions, behavior, and criteria.
What are students learning about?
This generally pertains to the COI standard being addressed
“Students will learn how to use semi-colons in text by…”
What tools will be used to learn the concept, skill?
Text, articles, graphic organizers, manipulatives, journals, etc.
“...Reading the story, “Little Red Hen,” and using the graphic organizer…”
What will students do with the tools to show they have learned?
Recall Bloom’s Taxonomy and insert an action word such as compare, debate, organize, sequence, predict, draw, analyze, justify, interpret, summarize, etc.
“… To build 3 new sentences using semi-colons.”
How will you assess whether or not students have learned the skill?
Goals should always be measurable. Post tests, exit tickets, answer 3 questions, presentations of findings, etc.
“At the conclusion of the mini-lessons, each student will read one of their sentences out loud to the class.”
Properly constructed learning objectives will provide not only our English Learners, but all of our Prepsters, the means to arrive at their intended learning destination by paving the cognitive road to their success.
Check out the following video on YouTube, “Writing Learning Objectives Using Bloom’s Taxonomy.”