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Tool 05



Teachers will:

  • Bring a richer and deeper thinking about vocabulary to their classroom instruction

  • Plan vocabulary lessons that teach words explicitly

  • Plan multiple opportunities into the school day to expand student vocabularies through implicit instruction

  • Increase their own and students’ awareness of and interest in words

Part 1: Introduction - Vocabulary: The Blueprint of a Word

Topic 1: Words are Music

  • Words have a musical quality about them. In addition, each word has a dynamic design. A word develops a unique design over time, its own structure and shared structures with context and other words.

Topic 2: The Mental Lexicon

  • This section initiates the discussion about vocabulary and what it really means to know a word.

  • When we learn words, we don’t fill all the rooms for a word through one exposure, in one lesson, or by simply learning the definition of a word.

Part 2: Research - The Complexity of Writing

Topic 1: Memory and Learning

  • Writing and thinking are strongly related. We want to ask students to write about what they have read, listened to, and learned across the content areas.

  • Writing helps student form memories for the information they are learning.

Topic 2: Underlying Skills

  • The underlying transcription skills must be applied automatically in order to transcribe, to put into print, one’s formulated ideas.

  • When it comes down to it, many of our students are able to voice quite insightful or meaningful thoughts, but the rubber meets the road when it’s time for them to transfer those thoughts to paper to share with others.

Topic 3: Overarching Skills

  • Teachers learn about the higher-level skills that require the contribution of language itself: Background knowledge, vocabulary, concept formation, verbal reasoning, the pragmatics writers bring to the careful choice of words when considering their audience, and knowledge of text structures.

  • The Reading Rope (Scarborough) is used to discuss the language comprehension skills and how they also contribute to writing.

Part 3: Practice - Vocabulary Lessons

Teachers view several classroom videos demonstrating a glimpse into ways of teaching vocabulary that potentially builds high levels of lexical quality for students.

Topic 1: Download the Video Lesson Activity Booklet

  • As with all of the Tools, there is a classroom activity booklet that provides complete descriptions of the lessons shown in the videos. Additional teaching ideas are included.

Topic 2: The Vocabulary Lesson – Choosing Words to Teach

  • Choosing the words to teach in the first step in any vocabulary lesson. Topic 2 helps teachers understand how to choose the best words to teach and then ways to teach those words.

Topic 3: The Vocabulary Lesson – How to Teach

  • There are many methods for teaching vocabulary. This topic presents a few important teaching and learning elements for teachers to include in their lesson planning.

Part 4: Planning

The planning section of Tool 5 guides teachers through two approaches to planning vocabulary instruction – implicit instruction and explicit instruction. A vocabulary lesson structure is introduced to teachers that incorporates the many vocabulary elements discussed in the Tool.

Part 5: Wrap Up

Topic 1: Summary

  • A summary of the blueprint of a word is provided along with reminders of the many elements that make up words and that teachers need to be aware of when planning their vocabulary lessons.

Topic 2: Video – Conversation with an Expert

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