Build background knowledge before teaching a lesson. Remember that these students may not have the same background concepts in their cultures-their past experiences will effect learning. Impact of their backgrounds will depend on their previous schooling, home languages, and cultures. For example, ESL students do not have the same concepts as American students, concepts such as freedom and democracy, perceptions of time, and right to privacy may be different or non-existent in many cultures. When you tie new information to students’ own background experiences, both personal (including cultural) and academic, the information takes on new meaning. Teachers can do this by asking questions ,”Have you ever?...or How do people usually feel about?...-and then directly relating it to the text. We will read scenarios where teachers use different plans for teaching a unit on Mrs . Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Links : It is also important for teachers to make explicit connections between new learning and the material previously covered in class. Research clearly emphasizes that in order for learning to occur, new information must be integrated with what the learner already knows. Links can be made between past lr=earning and new learning through a discussion, such as, “Who remembers what we learned about--- How does that relate to our story?” Or by reviewing graphic organizers or other written reminders about the information. You can refer to word banks, outlines, charts, maps, and graphic organizers. A review of prior lessons indicates the key information they should remember.
Activating background used to be considered an anticipatory activity-done to capture student attention and to motivate. But this can be integrated into the overall flow of the lesson.
Quickwrites in which students write for a few minutes about an assigned topic. Writing on topic requires that they think about the topic. KWL students share what they already know, what they wan to find out and whAT THEY LEARNED ABOUT A TOPIC. Checklists- here students are reminded of the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to complete a task. These checklists help students keep relevant information in mind as they work Frames- These provide a linguistic scaffold-so that students can focus attention on the content rather than the language required to communicate their understanding. For example, as a scaffold for compare and contrast- a frame might say,” ___and ___share several characteristics including-----” or Both deal with------ These tools help students make connections between the known and the unknown
In your planning-you can be intentional to include activities that link into the students past learning KWL charts can be added to and ongoing and reflect things learned recently Students notebooks can be organized so that they can refer back to nores from previous days Transparencies or charts from the previous lesson are presented as a refresher to review material linked to new information and to help strudents maek connections Physical timelines are posted on the wall or can be in students notebooks-to be added to continuously- and are students created.
Embed language instruction in the content and provide scaffolding for students by paraphrasing, restate and ask for a verbal signal that they get it. Use color coding to help students distinguish topics, working with a partner or in a small group will aid in the students’s oral langauge skills, and give them practice for speaking. Study guides help students know what details are important so that they can focus on them. When students interact with one another, students discuss their knowledge, and build onto their own knowledge.
There is a strong correlation between vocabulary knowledge and student achievement. What vocabulary words do they need in order to understand the most important concepts? Determine which key words are necessary-names of people or places that are important, or other technical vocabulary needed to read about the topic of the lesson.
What vocabulary words do they need in order to understand the conceptsThere is a strong relationship between vocabulary knowledge and academic achievement To be most effective, vocabulary should be closely related to the subject matter students are studying, the new words embedded within the context of the text. Such ways could include the use of semantic mapping, word sorts or concept definition maps (shoe examples of these later) Students should personalize word learning through such practices as mnemonic strategies or personal dictionaries. By providing rich language environments (we see this most in Kindergarten rooms) that focus on words and draw attention to the leaning of words. Word walls, personal word study notebooks and comparing/contrasting words with the same morphemic element-(for example, photograph, photosynthesis, photogenic) all help students in recognizing and using words around them. Letting students see and hear new words more than once, and drawing on multiple sources of meaning are important for vocabulary development.
Demonstrate how terms are used in context. Relate words to one another. Let students discuss, and agree upon which terms are most importanat in understanding the concept.
When teaching a new word, explain it first. Give a student=friendly explanation in language that the students already know and give examples from their experience, use synonyms . (example, we were reading a story, came upon the word”scold”-students did not know what it meant. Before defining it, I gestured a wagging finger and asked when they saw that gesture, what did it usually mean-I role [played a situation of their not doing their homework, being scolded and then gave definition with a synonym. When a new word is used with an image in mind, or a use in contest it gets more elaborated so they don’t lose it. Then practice it in sentences so that they can use it and maybe write it in a sentence.
Enunciate each syllable (and give the part of speech)3. or give a brief explanation 4. Ask the students to complete the statement by substituting aloud the new word. 5. Consider including a visual, or non-linguistic representation of the word and /or an illustrative”showing sentence” 6. The question will be task-based to see if the students seem to grasp the word’s meaning.
Sheltered teachers look over the text and select several key terms. Teachers introduce the terms at the outset (front loading) defining and demonstrating each and showing how that term is used in the text. Or, read with students in small group and, as they come across a term, pause and explain it to them. VSS a class list of vocabulary self-collection words for a particular lesson are agreed upon by the teacher and the students) These are then studied and reviewed throughout. They can also be entered in a notebook. Students learn how to determine which words are the most important to learn. (This strategy works best with high-intermediate and advanced English learners) Personal dictionaries: similar to VSS. These are individual spelling and vocabulary resources for the students at all levels of proficiency. Students read in partners and small groups and write the unknown words in their personal dictionary. The teacher then works with them providing correction or clarification. (index card binder-picture, sentence, own definition of the word) During the lesson, key vocabulary is reviewed by referring to the relevant words that are listed on a large poster or pocket chart. Word walls are effective for displaying content words related to a particular unit. The map is a great way to learn and remember content vocabulary and concepts. Example, American Revolution. Simple graphic that shows the relationship of terms and concept, the class can complete the map together.
Cloze sentences-can be used teach and review. Sentence has strong contextual support for the missing word. Word sorts-categorize words or phrases which have been previously studied, and put into groups predetermined by the teacher. Also as a List-Group-Label Activity: students brainstorm words related to a topic, and then place them in categories or find labels for the words. The words are reviewed as they are placed under the various labels. Helps to learn new words through analogy. Example-port. Brainstorm all words with port in it. Go back and look at each word to try to determine the meaning of port (carry) Students generalize meanings of the content words that they already know that contain the same syllable or word part-port. Word study books: student-made personal notebook containing frequently used words and concepts. Could be listing all words with the ending- -tion, -sion, and –tation, English language structure. Or group words by meaning (e.g.. American Revolution related words. Many games from pictionary to scrabble to word searches or crossword puzzles
The importance of building background is one of the easier components of the SIOP to incorporate into teaching. Taking a few minutes to jump-start the students’ schema-finding out what they know or have experienced about a topic, and linking their knowledge directly to the lesson’s objective will result in greater understanding for English learners. Finally, we see the importance of developing vocabulary in meaningful ways; preteaching key words, highlighting them in context, and using some type of visual to provide repeated exposure to those key words.
Remember to use speech that is appropriate to the students' proficiency level- slow down and really enunciate. Often we use idioms that we don't realize my not be familiar to some students. Avoid jargon that may be confusing. Explain the task clearly, step by step-with demonstrations when needed. Be sure to write oral directions on the board- have students re-explain to clarify. Peer modeling -often one group will be functioning smoothly-let them explain to the class in their own words.
Use think alouds saying what you are doing as you use a strategy Give definitions as you use a word, to reinforce definitions in context-colonists-the settlers who came here from England-I had to explain what a colony was to a group of LEP students in 5 th grade-showing England on a map and the distance from the New World. Make connections as concrete as possible using what you have. Use questioning throughout, who, what , when, why -use a variety of questions Interaction-a variety of grouping structures should be used during a lesson-at least 2-partners, triads, small group teams, vary these to increase students involvement. We need to wait about 20 seconds or more for a student to respond to a question- some English language learners may need more-they need time to formulate the answer-especially if trying to find new words to use-others can write down their response while waiting for an answer, then confirm with the answer. Give students the opportunity to report out orally and in writing -they can do this in teams or partners. Students develop skills together-reading, writing, speaking and listening need to be integrated in their work-writing promotes development in reading . Expressive skills and receptive skills are mutually supportive When asking if students have gotten a concept, use a variety of methods-thumbs up or down, or response boards
Building Backgroundis the foundationfor the learningthat will take place
Building Background is● Multidimensional● Contextual● Useful
Building Background• Activate students’ background knowledge explicitly• Provide links from their experiences to the concepts or text• Make links between past learning and new concepts
Background KnowledgeReveals itself as vocabulary knowledgeCan be developed and enhances
Ways to ActivateBackground Knowledge Quickwrites KWL Charts Checklists Sentence and paragraph frames
Strategies to link to backgroundTeachers can...Ask questions that preview upcoming topicDevelop background through meaningful activities
Virtual Experiences Can Enhance BackgroundEducational videosLanguage InteractionReading
Link past learning to new conceptsKWL chartsJournal entriesThink-Pair-ShareStudent notebooksOld transparencies or chartsPhysical timelines
Provide scaffolding for students• Paraphrase for better comprehension• Use color codes to distinguish topics• Work in partner/small groups• Use graphic organizers• Provide study guides
How do students acquire vocabulary?“Students acquire vocabulary through_____________________.”
Students learn some words...Through wide readingThrough discussion and life experiencesBy developing an awareness of wordsThrough direct instructionBy learning vocabulary related skills
Developing Key Vocabulary• Students should be active in developing their understanding of words and ways to learn them.• Students should personalize word learning• Students should be immersed in words• Students should build on multiple sources of information to learn words
Big Ideas in Vocabulary Teaching•Connect•Process•Practice Kate Kinsella, San Francisco State University, 7/03
Connect Explanations BEFORE DefinitionsProcess Active ELABORATIONPractice RECEPTIVE EXPRESSIVE
Vocabulary Pre-Teaching Sequence 1. Say the word clearly 2.Ask students to repeat the word 3.Provide a synonym 4.Rephrase the definition or explanation 5.Provide one or more examples 6.Pose a focused question (Kinsella & Feldman, 9/04)
Approaches toVocabulary Development• Contextualizing Key Vocabulary• Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy (VSS)• Personal Dictionaries• Word Wall• Concept Definition Map
Approaches to Vocabulary (cont’d)• Cloze sentences• Word Sorts• Word Generation• Word Study Books• Vocabulary Games
Summary• The importance of building background has been well-established• Finding out what students know or have experienced about a topic, and linking their knowledge directly to the lesson will result in better understanding• Importance of developing students’ vocabulary in meaningful ways