Thursday, August 15, 2013

"If you don't understand the vocabulary context behind the lesson...you are at a distinct disadvantage."

In designing your unit plans it is important to identify essential vocabulary for that unit. Yes, there are many words that can be called important but decide which words the students need to know. 50 words is way too many. Too often the vocabulary is ignored. Not a good idea. Time has to be spent with the important words of the class. Don't put it off! Be purposeful.

There are many devices to help such as word walls, graphic organizers, frayer diagrams, and many others. (I will spend time on some of these strategies in future blog posts. Look at my earlier posts for information on the Frayer model and word walls.)

Whatever you do...do not resort to memorization of lists! Aaarrrggghhh! Picture the Grinch complaining about the Whos in their village and the noises they make.


The students must learn to use the words. This takes time. The pay off for the time spent is enormous! It gives them a fighting chance for being able to interact and truly learn the content.

This is also a good opportunity to collaborate with a teacher of your grade level, team mate, PLC member, favorite administrator, etc. Share and ask for help.

Take time to watch the following clip from the Teaching Channel. It shows a teacher using a Marzano strategy for introducing essential vocabulary. Be purposeful with vocabulary instruction. Identify the essential, key words, lead your students in learning the words, and wow!!!... you will maximize their understanding of the content! Drive on!