Mon., August 4, EdTech Building, ___ Bridge St., Washington, NC @ 8:30-3:30. Lauren Buck will welcome folks and introduce the session and speakers.
C: Go around quickly, say names, what you teach, and how long you’ve been teaching.
E: After video clip, ask: What regional words do you use? What experiences have you had using certain words? What’s your favorite word? – TURN AND TALK ABOUT WORDS
C: As you can tell from those conversations (after American Tongues clip), words are interesting. They’re fun. They’re weird. They reflect who we are and where we come from and who we want to be and sound like. They’re SO MUCH MORE than definitions in a dictionary. Today, we want to give you some ideas to stimulate your own interest in words and to help you encourage your students to do the same. Because the good news is that almost any way that you talk about and show interest in and draw their attention to words will help your students’ vocabulary grow. We want to get you thinking about how to find these opportunities in your own teaching and get you excited about trying out some new ideas.
C: So here’s what research has found about what we need for effective vocabulary instruction. READ. So this is our foundation, right? This doesn’t tell us what to do on Monday, but it is a guide for thinking about the kinds of pieces or strands we need to be braiding in to the work we do with kids about words.
And, if we think about it, these pieces make a lot of sense. There are SO SO SO SO many words in English, that no vocabulary program and no amount of homework or flashcards will help kids learn every word. Instead, we have to think about how to create language-rich environments, where kids are reading and hearing multiple words in multiple contexts (#1), and where we support that learning by fostering engagement (#4) and providing targeted instruction both in specific word meanings (#2) and, more importantly, in HOW to learn words (#3).
E: Here’s how those 4 components can come together in an actual classroom. Some are incidental / informal….. Some are more intentional, whether full lessons, mini lessons, or even moments in lessons on other things.
We’ll be talking more about encouraging kids’ reading and discussions of that reading this afternoon. This morning, we are going to focus on strategies for intentional vocabulary teaching, specifically: how you can find even small moments in your day to teach kids about words how you can help kids learn words by thinking about meaning, and how you can help kids learn words by thinking about word structure. We’ll end by coming back to this idea of word consciousness and word play.
SMALL MOMENTS TO TEACH ABOUT WORDS: C: explain how teachers can use new words in their procedures, conversations with students. - “line up perpendicular to the door” or “move expeditiously” or “that’s stupendous!” E: tell Maya’s story C: tell teacher’s story: "I often refer to behavior choices or negative outcomes as unfortunate. It seemed like a softer, but clear way of identifying situations or choices as not ideal or positive. One day, I asked the students to take out their journals and was met with a chorus of “what are we going to do next?” I told them that we were going to have a short writers’ workshop lesson, and my witty friend responded with, “Well that’s unfortunate!” After I controlled my laughter, I told her I respected her opinion, and absolutely loved her choice of words! This was a defining moment for me. These students may be small in stature, but their capacity for learning is immense. From that moment forward I began to consciously and deliberately introduce them to the “fancy” words. We attached gestures or expressions to show levels of meaning for synonyms of words found in our storybooks. What does it look like to be furious, melancholy, or famished? There was no formal assessment of these lessons, but the ultimate goal was to create an attitude of excitement about language and how we express ourselves. I have always loved to read and discover new words, but this was the beginning of my quest to open this world for my young students."
So, you can help kids think about words through your talk with them, but when it comes to more explicit vocabulary lessons, it can be hard to know where to start and what words to teach. You might be familiar with Beck and McKeown’s ideas of Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 words. That’s one way to think about vocabulary to teach. But this is another layer to that by Fisher & Fry.
C: So, you can think about your own language in the classroom. And you can think about important kinds of words that you want to highlight. Now we want to start to think about how you bring all that into your teaching. 1. Sometimes you can support students’ understanding of words in the course of your “regular” teaching by additional information about words as you teach. - 2. Rather than just telling them what a word means, you can also show students HOW you figure out words (and therefore how THEY can figure out words when they read, too).
EX 2: E: Primary/beginning/introductory: Henry P. Baloney http://ilove2teach.blogspot.com/2013/03/teaching-context-clues-is-baloney.html & http://thefoundationoflifelonglearning.blogspot.com/2011/10/context-clues-peas-and-carrots-and-much.html
EX: intermediate/experienced: Types of context clues chart
E: Go through the texts you brought and identify opportunities to scaffold meaning – adding gestures/voice inflection when reading aloud, walking students through specific context clue markers (thinking aloud). Use post-its, talk to one another. If time, share something cool in your group or questions.
C: Do you notice that students use the same words over and over, either in their talk or in their writing? What are some of those words? One thing you can do in your teaching is encourage kids to use new words, not “tired” words – brainstorm (even keep a running list of) interesting synonyms to use instead. THEN, Encourage the use of new words by drawing attention and praising their use! Try “sparkle words” or “whoa, baby!” words Go over said YOUR TURN: get in groups, think of as many other ways to say “tired” words as you can Each group will pick a word, but we’ll share the ones we generated. K-1 examples: see, like, go, big, little, good, bad 2-4 examples: happy, very, tired, funny, walk, hot, cold
Often called a “shades of meaning” activity. Could even do these with content area words – rank mostleast number of sides/angles in math, etc. Are you seeing the importance of talking and collaborating by this point? We need to be comparing our senses of these words…
E: Think about relationships between words, you can apply that to content areas as well.
Ask students to sort the terms according to the following categories or ask them to sort them in a way that is meaningful to them and follow up to check their understanding of the concepts. Types of plants Parts of a plant Where plants grow What plants need
Help kids explore patterns actively through WORD SORTS Patterns in the structure of words connect spelling and meaning and can help students learn whole groups of words Greek and Latin roots for intermediate students Prefixes and suffixes for all students
Give examples of other sorts, show words their way book. Activity 1: -able, -ible word sort whole group, each pair gets words to sort Activity 2: C will facilitate “spect-” with the whole group. Split into two grade level groups to Try it. E will do brain burst with TRI
Should we include this? Others?
What do you know about literature circles? What have you tried in terms of lit discussions or circles? Five finger rating … 0 I have no idea what you are talking about 5 is I am very experienced in facilitating literature discussions in my classroom. To set the stage for this portion of the workshop, I’m going to share some research about reading comprehension because While all components of the reading process are important, reading comprehension is the goal of reading.
How many kids do you see in this picture? 6. Imagine that they are teacher-identified successful, fluent readers. Applegate, Applegate, and Modla conducted a study in which they administered a reading inventory to a big group of children who teachers identified as successful, fluent readers. The findings were interesting.
They found that on average, 1/3 of the teacher-identified fluent successful readers in their study struggled with comprehension. To avoid a situation in which readers can read the words but lack understanding of the text (e.g., Applegate, Applegate, & Modla, 2009), we should emphasize meaning making while reading at all levels and create situations in which readers are supported in their efforts to make meaning. We got this, right? So how do we go about supporting comprehension in classrooms? Back in the 70’s Delores Durkin did research in which she found that teachers were not support comprehension development in classrooms – they were pretyt good at assessing it – asking questions after text was read – but not teaching it. Since then, many educators have embraced explicit comprehension strategies instruction.
Inarguably, both direct comprehension strategies and meaning-based discussion about text can be powerful, but when they go head-to-head, which is more effective in terms of comprehension development?
Discussing text to enhance understanding has a proven track record in the literature (Lee & Smagorinsky, 2000), but many educators have sacrificed discussion for direct strategies instruction. Critics and research point out some flaws in relying on strategy instruction. Teaching formal skills that may or may not be necessary for the text at hand may not be the best use of time. For example, in a two-year experiment, McKeown, Beck, and Blake (RRQ, 2009) found that an instructional approach in which fifth grade students focused on the content of text through meaning-based questions/discussion was more effective in terms of comprehension than a procedural comprehension strategies-based approach.
Working together to actively construct meaning from text as a joint activity can be more effective than transmitting information from the teacher to the student – this is based on the social constructivist literacy learning theory.
If we are aiming to collaborate and jointly construct meaning, we’ll need to rethink traditional roles of students and teachers. To facilitate talk: kids should be able to talk to one another. teachers move to facilitators and kids are the stars of the show in terms of doing the actual reading, thinking, and talking. This means the room has to change, too. If we want kids to talk to one another, we’ll need to move desks accordingly and move ourselves outside the circle.
Let’s see what this can look like. And if it’s really possible……. WATCH VIDEO So, this is the kind of talk we’re aiming to foster among our students. What did you notice?
So, that’s great, but how do you build to it? What kinds of things go into making talk like that happen? Fish bowl: this is a strategy you can use with your students and we are going to use it today to begin practicing our own discussions about text. Bad Island – graphic novel Pull aside Fish: bring questions, connections, noticings Outside circle: note what they hear and see happening during talk Time to read (fish and circle), then prompt fish to discuss Debrief: fish and circle … and teacher
Another way to add structure and to help your students get to this kind of deep talk is to use ROLES. These are temporary scaffolds – in other words, doing a role isn’t the point; TALKING about your book is – but they can give some responsibility and can help students understand the different kinds of things to think and talk about.
30 minutes to read, prepare. THEN DISCUSS! (30-45 minutes) Remember, you want your talk to sound like the kids in the video!
REFLECT: How did it go? What worked? What didn’t work? What are you thinking about for your class now?
Vocabulary and Literature Circles for CPS August 2014
Getting Kids Talking About Words and Books:
Exploring Vocabulary Instruction and Literature Circles
Chocowinity Primary, Beaufort County -- August 4, 2014
Caitlin Ryan and Elizabeth Swaggerty, East Carolina University
Getting Comfortable Thinking and Talking About Words
Embrace your inner nerd!
Make learning about words fun!
What research tells us:
Four components of an effective vocabulary
1. extensive independent reading to expand word
knowledge [i.e., multiple words in multiple contexts]
2. instruction in specific words to enhance comprehension
of texts containing those words
3. instruction in independent word-learning strategies, and
4. word consciousness and word-play activities to motivate
and enhance learning
The words you use are powerful…
• You are a model of
language use and
vocabulary for your
– What words do you use?
– What words could you
use to scaffold their
• It Works!
– Kindergarten teacher
– Maya’s story
– Others to share?
What you teach is powerful…
Considerations for Selecting Vocabulary Words (Fisher & Fry, 2008)
•Is the word representative of a family of words that students should know?
•Is the concept represented by the word critical to understanding the text?
•Is the word a label for an idea that students need to know?
•Does the word represent an idea essential for understanding another
•Will the word be used again in this text?
•If so, does the word occur often enough to be redundant?
•Will the word be used again during the school year?
•Will the word be used in group discussions?
•Will the word be used in writing tasks?
•Will the word be used in other content or subject areas?
•Can students use context clues to determine the correct or intended
meaning of the word without instruction?
•Can students use structural analysis to determine the correct or intended
meaning of the word without instruction?
Cognitive Load •Have I identified too many words for students to successfully integrate?
How you teach is powerful…
Draw students’ attention to words as you read and teach.
1. Add information verbally or through gesture / voice inflection
2. Model how you use context clues when reading
Digging Deeper with
Types of Helpful
Help students learn - AND USE –words
with new meanings…
Help students understand
relationships between words…
Organize the words you just brainstormed OR try one of these:
Help students understand
relationships between words…
Helping students analyze word parts…
• Explore the structure of words through WORD SORTS
• Active and hands-on
• Connects spelling & meaning
• Helps students learn whole
groups of words
•Greek and Latin roots (intermediate
•Prefixes and suffixes (all students)
Word Sort Example
Greek/Latin Root Activity
Don’t forget the fun!
Patterns are important,
but remember that they
don’t ALWAYS work!
Word play builds engagement, fosters
word consciousness, and is FUN!
Try your own “Woah, Baby!” word re-writes!
A few examples……
Teaching Vocabulary on Reading Rockets
Ideas from Edutopia
Vocabulary Teaching Ideas on Pinterist
1/3 of the teacher-identified
“successful” readers struggled
*Focusing on the content of
text through meaning-based
more effective than a
(McKeown, Beck, and Blake, 2009)
*Can be effective methods
to support engagement at
(Burns, 1998; Casey 2008/2009;
Heller, 2006; Lloyd, 2004; Long &
Gove, 2003; Swaggerty, 2009; Wiebe
Berry & Englert, 2005)
Actively construct meaning from text as a
joint activity rather than one that is
transmitted from the teacher to the student.
(Lee & Smagorinsky, 2000; McKeown, Beck, & Blake, 2009)
Social Constructivist Literacy Learning
Keeping our Eye on the Prize
Scaffold with Roles
Discussion Director: acts as group’s facilitator; creates questions to increase
comprehension; asks who, what, why, when, where, how, and what if; open-ended
questions that will stimulate discussion; focus on themes/big ideas
Word Wizard: locates amazing/interesting words; looks for new words or words
used in unusual ways; clarifies word meanings and pronunciations; uses research
resource; points to the words in context
Literary Luminator: locates examples of amazing/interesting writing that could
be read aloud to the group; guides oral reading for a purpose; examines figurative
language, parts of speech, and vivid descriptions
Reporter: prepares a summary of the book or selected reading; highlights the
important details, events, and characters.
Connector: makes text-to-self, text-to-world, and text-to-text connections; makes
connections to what you’re studying; make disconnections.
You’ve chosen a book/group with your post-its…
Within your group:
– Choose roles
– Talk about norms, expectations for high-quality talk
• Read with your role in mind
• Use post-its
• Fill out role sheet
High-interest books, span ability levels
Students rank order books
Teacher build groups based on choice
Planning Literature Circles
Make sure they can read their books
Meet with them more often to ensure they
are reading (comprehending) and ready
for the discussion
Provide extra opportunities to ask
Make sure they feel success with reading
Keep them excited and motivated
Extra Support for Students Who Find
Key Ideas: Text Discussion to Enhance
Comprehension and Engagement
Teach kids how to read with purpose
Teach them how to notice, note, and question text
that is interesting, confusing, and complex
Teach kids how to talk about text
Teach them how to compose good questions,
questions that invite discussion
Teach kids how to be in a group
Teach them how to listen to and learn from one
Getting Started With Lit Circles Lesson Plans:
Talking about Text Website:
Text Discussion Resources