Thursday, September 6, 2012

Focus on Vocabulary Instruction

**Yes I know it is THURSDAY! I decided to go on the boat last night instead of post this! Better late than never... and I happen to think this is a GOOD ONE!**

So at a training in Killeen ISD last month I completely eavesdropped (every good teacher does that) on a conversation two teachers were having about their latest project for their classrooms.  Now, keep in mind, they walked in with a huge bundle under their arms and they even unrolled it for others to see! I could NOT, NOT ask about it!

They had made a VOCABULARY QUILT with plastic sleeves! You know, the kind you put in a 3-Ring binder! Oh yes! Teachers are brilliant! Even if you don't do this vocabulary idea, just make the quilt! I could see many uses for it! It could display student work- it could show multiple anchor charts in their "small" version and the Fire Marshall can't do anything about it because it is plastic rather than paper! See the HOW TO attached to this post as well to make your VERY OWN!
 Click Here to Learn How To Make a Shower Curtain Display

I just thought this was such a great idea. I'll be honest that I had never studied Marzano until I started working as an Education Specialist. I had never thought of the importance of DIRECT and EXPLICIT Vocabulary instruction.  If you want the research of it all you should read Marzano's book and see his other products HERE. 

The Shower Curtain Words are a way to support the use of Marzano's 6-Step Vocabulary Instruction.

In the state of Texas there is a big emphasis being placed on vocabulary- specifically the vocabulary in the standards in all content areas. If the vocabulary is in the student standard it is now "testable". Meaning, if the standard mentions figurative language, kids need to know what that is enough to have it be part of a test question on the STAAR test. So how are teachers making sure they are teach all of that vocabulary?  They are making an effort with activities like this! 

Keeping in mind though, teaching the words is one thing, but the goal of vocabulary instruction is to have the vocab become a part of your STUDENTS' language.  That is why Marzano's strategies work so well!

All steps can be found in Classroom Instruction that Works, (Marzano, Pickering, Pollock)

So Let's have some FUN! Step 6.. GAMES! Game ON! 

• Games help encourage learners to sustain interest

• Learners are requested to take part and in order to, they must understand and express information

• During games, a teacher can listen for misconceptions

In addition to the large classroom display for vocabulary words is an INTERACTIVE word wall.  

This is on a poster board and organized by unit. The large display(shower curtain) holds words that are under study in the current unit. They get changed out as the units progress. But on a poster board and attached with Velcro are baggies of words for each unit. Kids can take these off the board for use in writing, centers, etc. This gets added to as the year continues, and allows kids to have access to all their words as they learn them through the year. 

Another variation of the Interactive Word Wall is shown below.  This is done within file folders and is truly more portable. Words are tucked into the pockets. To be honest, I might use library pockets when I make my own! I could see enough of these in the classroom so that students could play their games all year long with the words right at their fingertips!  

The File Folder games can be used to play Concentration, Go Fish,  etc.  There is a long list of how teachers' can use these words in a game setting! And of course the words for each unit are color coded for easy sorting and identification! Voila! 

So what do you do for EXPLICIT instruction with vocabulary? How do you get your kids using the words in their everyday language.  

Thanks to the Killeen Independent School District teachers who shared this with me. Specifically Kimberly Lind! She provided the pictures and files that have been uploaded. 

Kimberly, YOU are a Rock Star! 


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