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Found a great new resource for teaching vocabulary! 

Vocabulary at the Center by Amy Benjamin and John T. Crow (Eye on Research). Here are a few of its topics and resources:

  • Explains why vocabulary is everyone’s job, not just the English teacher’s.
  • Clarifies what it means to really know a word.
  • Helps us figure out what words to teach.
  • Describes how a word stays learned.
  • Provides very helpful appendices.  ex. words about cause and effect, words about amounts and degrees, & Latin and Greek word components

Teams can use the strategies and resources in a variety of ways.  Here’s one:

  • Choose one of the subsets of generic academic vocabulary (Appendix A) that contains words that are applicable in all of your classes.  A good example is Set Three: Words about space and divisions of space.
Words About Space and the Division of Space--chart

Words About Space and the Division of Space

  • Decide which members of the team will be responsible for introducing specific words.
  • Explore ways each team member can reinforce the words in his/her classes.
  • Determine how the team will assess student progress.
  • Set a time frame and build a calendar of who and when to keep the team on track.
  • Settle on one or two proven effective instructional strategies to use.

Benjamin and Crow offer a variety of strategies. The one that follows would be used to reinforce the meaning while serving multiple purposes:

  • Helps students internalize new words.
  • Reinforces content.
  • Teaches the structure of a complex sentence in a fairly painless way.

Here are the steps of the strategy (p.24)

  1. Have students use the designated word in a phrase (a group of words that make sense but are not a complete sentence).   Example: an array of colors
  2. Turn the phrase into a simple sentence. (for this purpose, ask that the sentence be something that can be declared true or false).  Example: The sunset at Key West is a brilliant array of colors.
  3. Have students use one of the following words  (subordinating conjunctions) to turn their simple sentence into a complex one. Be sure to model and explain the sentence transformation process! although, as, because, if, unless    Example: The sunset at Key West is a brilliant array of colors because of the lack of pollution that can lessen the effect of the red and orange colors of the light spectrum.

According to Benjamin and Crow these five subordinating conjunctions create sophisticated relationships between two complete thoughts. Making connections, using different contexts, and multiple practices make it more likely students will internalize critical vocabulary.

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